Keep in mind that neither success nor failure is ever final.
—Roger Babson (1875–1967) American Economist
Show me someone content with mediocrity and I’ll show you someone destined for failure.
—Johnnetta B. Cole (b.1936) American Anthropologist, Educator
Get rid of your fear of failure, your tensions about succeeding, you will be yourself. Relaxed. You wouldn’t be driving with your brakes on. That’s what would happen.
—Anthony de Mello (1931–87) Indian-born American Theologian
You must think of failure and defeat as the springboards to new achievements or to the next level of accomplishment.
No one ever won a chess game by betting on each move. Sometimes you have to move backward to get a step forward.
—Amar Bose (1929–2013) American Entrepreneur
No persons are more frequently wrong, than those who will not admit they are wrong.
—Francois de La Rochefoucauld (1613–80) French Writer
In all education the main cause of failure is staleness
—Alfred North Whitehead (1861–1947) English Mathematician, Philosopher
To fail is a natural consequence of trying, To succeed takes time and prolonged effort in the face of unfriendly odds. To think it will be any other way, no matter what you do, is to invite yourself to be hurt and to limit your enthusiasm for trying again.
—David Viscott (1938–96) American Psychiatrist, Author, Businessperson
He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.
—Benjamin Franklin (1706–90) American Political Leader, Inventor, Diplomat
Fame or integrity: which is more important? Money or happiness: which is more valuable? Success or failure: which is more destructive? If you look to others for fulfillment, you will never truly be fulfilled. If your happiness depends on money, you will never be happy with yourself. Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.
—Laozi (fl.6th Century BCE) Chinese Philosopher, Sage
Failure is the path of least resistance.
—J. M. Barrie (1860–1937) Scottish Novelist, Dramatist
Remember that your failures are the seeds of your most glorious successes. Be sad if you must, but don’t despair.
For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something…almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.
—Steve Jobs (1955–2011) American Entrepreneur, Businessperson
Failure is an event, not a person. Yesterday ended last night.
—Zig Ziglar (1926–2012) American Author
Failure changes for the better, success for the worse.
—Seneca the Younger (Lucius Annaeus Seneca) (c.4 BCE–65 CE) Roman Stoic Philosopher, Statesman, Tragedian
All human beings have failings, all human beings have needs and temptations and stresses. Men and women who live together through long years get to know one another’s failings; but they also come to know what is worthy of respect and admiration in those they live with and in themselves. If at the end one can say, This man used to the limit the powers that God granted him; he was worthy of love and respect and of the sacrifices of many people, made in order that he might achieve what he deemed to be his task, then that life has been lived well and there are no regrets.
—Eleanor Roosevelt (1884–1962) American First Lady, Diplomat, Humanitarian
There are few things more dreadful than dealing with a man who knows he is going under, in his own eyes, and in the eyes of others. Nothing can help that man. What is left of that man flees from what is left of human attention.
—James Baldwin (1924–87) American Novelist, Social Critic
Accept that all of us can be hurt, that all of us can — and surely will at times — fail. Other vulnerabilities, like being embarrassed or risking love, can be terrifying, too. I think we should follow a simple rule: if we can take the worst, take the risk.
—Joyce Brothers (1927–2013) American Psychologist, Advice Columnist
I have learned throughout my life as a composer chiefly through my mistakes and pursuits of false assumptions, not by my exposure to founts of wisdom and knowledge.
—Igor Stravinsky (1882–1971) Russian-born American Composer, Musician
A person who doubts himself is like a man who would enlist in the ranks of his enemies and bear arms against himself. He makes his failure certain by himself being the first person to be convinced of it.
—Alexandre Dumas pere (1802–1870) French Novelist, Playwright
I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.
Defeat should never be a source of discouragement, but rather a fresh stimulus.
—Robert South (1634–1716) English Theologian, Preacher
Try as we may, none of us can be free of conflict and woe. Even the greatest men have had to accept disappointments as their daily bread…. The art of living lies less in eliminating our troubles than in growing with them. Man and society must grow together. Each individual’s efforts to discipline himself must be matched by society’s struggle to enforce the rules of law and of justice under the law.
—Bernard M. Baruch (1870–1965) American Financier, Economic Consultant
So many fail because they don’t get started—they don’t go. They don’t overcome inertia. They don’t begin.
—W. Clement Stone (1902–2002) American Self-help Guru, Entrepreneur
New opinions are always suspected, and usually opposed, without any other reason but because they are not already common.
—John Locke (1632–1704) English Philosopher, Physician
I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed. Out of the hard and unusual struggle through which he is compelled to pass, he gets a strength, a confidence, that one misses whose pathway is comparatively smooth by reason of birth and race.
—Booker T. Washington (1856–1915) African-American Educationist
Those who take bold chances don’t think failure is the opposite of success. They believe complacency is.
If you are bitten by a snake, what’s the best thing to do? Remain calm, separate the poison from the rest of your body, suck the poison out. Worst thing to do: get upset, chase and kill snake. Same when someone strikes out at you verbally. Remain calm, don’t try to strike back at the other person. Don’t let the poison spread throughout your system.
An inventor fails 999 times, and if he succeeds once, he’s in. He treats his failures simply as practice shots.
—Charles F. Kettering (1876–1958) American Inventor, Entrepreneur, Businessperson
They never fail who die in a great cause.
—Lord Byron (George Gordon Byron) (1788–1824) English Romantic Poet
Throw your dreams into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back, a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country.
—Anais Nin (1903–77) French-American Essayist
Failure to prepare is preparing to fail.
—John Wooden (1910–2010) American Sportsperson
Failure is, in a sense, the highway to success, inasmuch as every discovery of what is false leads us to seek earnestly after what is true, and every fresh experience points out some form of error which we shall afterward carefully avoid.
—John Keats (1795–1821) English Poet
You’re on the road to success when you realize that failure is only a detour.
People don’t fail, they give up
You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door on the past. You don’t try to forget the mistakes, but you don’t dwell on it. You don’t let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space.
—Johnny Cash (1932–2003) American Country Music Singer, Songwriter, Guitarist
If thou art a man, admire those who attempt great things, even though they fail.
—Seneca the Younger (Lucius Annaeus Seneca) (c.4 BCE–65 CE) Roman Stoic Philosopher, Statesman, Tragedian
Success or failure in business is caused more by the mental attitude even than by mental capacities.
—Walter Scott (1771–1832) Scottish Novelist, Poet, Playwright, Lawyer
Failure is instructive. The person who really thinks learns quite as much from his failures as from his successes. Genuine ignorance is profitable because it is likely to be accompanied by humility, curiosity, and open-mindedness; whereas ability to repeat catch-phrases, cant terms, familiar propositions, gives the conceit of learning and coats the mind with varnish waterproof to new ideas.
—John Dewey (1859–1952) American Philosopher, Psychologist, Educator
One of the things I learned the hard way was it does not pay to get discouraged. Keeping busy and making optimism a way of life can restore your faith in yourself.
—Lucille Ball (1911–89) American Actor, Comedian, Model
It is not the failure of others to appreciate your abilities that should trouble you, but rather your failure to appreciate theirs.
—Confucius (551–479 BCE) Chinese Philosopher
To bear failure with courage is the best proof of character that anyone can give… You will find that people forget the failures of others very quickly…. My last piece of advice is not to let anyone see your mortification, but whatever you fancy people are saying about you to go on with your ordinary life as though nothing unpleasant had happened to you.
—W. Somerset Maugham (1874–1965) British Novelist, Short-Story Writer, Playwright
However things may seem, no evil thing is success and no good thing is failure.
—Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–82) American Poet, Educator, Academic
Keep on beginning and failing. Each time you fail, start all over gain, and you will grow stronger until have accomplished a purpose – not the one you began with perhaps, but one you’ll be glad to remember.
—Anne Sullivan Macy (1866–1936) American Educator
It is inevitable that some defeat will enter even the most victorious life. The human spirit is never finished when it is defeated… it is finished when it surrenders.
—Ben Stein (b.1944) American Lawyer, Writer, Economist, Humorist
I’d rather be a failure at something I love than a success at something I hate.
—George Burns (1896–1996) American Comedian
Failure doesn’t mean you are a failure… it just means you haven’t succeeded yet.
—Robert H. Schuller (1926–2015) American Christian Televangelist, Author
There is no such thing as a good excuse.
—Dero A. Saunders (1914–2002) American Journalist, Scholar
If you’re not failing every now and again, it’s a sign you’re not doing anything very innovative.
—Woody Allen (b.1935) American Film Actor, Director
The longer is the excuse, the less likely it’s the truth.