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Quotes about Failure & Mistakes

Inspirational Quotes about Failure & Mistakes

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“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”

– Paulo Coelho about Failure


“Nowadays most people die of a sort of creeping common sense, and discover when it is too late that the only things one never regrets are one’s mistakes.”

– Oscar Wilde


“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because 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.”

– Steve Jobs, Stanford commencement speech, June 2005


“I ask myself: are defeats necessary?

Well, necessary or not, they happen. When we first begin fighting for a dream, we have no experience and make mistakes. The secret of life, though, is to fall seven times and to get up eight times.”

– Paulo Coelho


“The only real failure in life is not to be true to the best one knows.”

– Buddha


“I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.”

– Marilyn Monroe


“What is life but a series of inspired follies? The difficulty is to find them to do. Never lose a chance: it doesn’t come every day.”

– George Bernard Shaw, Quotes from Pygmalion


“Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them.”

– Bruce Lee


“Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in that grey twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.”

– Theodore Roosevelt


“It’s not the experience that happens to you: it’s what you do with the experience that happens to you.”

– Bertrand Russell about failure, as quoted in Attributed to Russell in Slaby’s Sixty Ways to Make Stress Work for You (1987)


“I honestly think it is better to be a failure at something you love than to be a success at something you hate.”

– George Burns


“Accepting means you allow yourself to feel whatever it is you are feeling at that moment…you can’t argue with what is. Well, you can, but if you do, you suffer.”

– Eckhart Tolle on life, as quoted in, A New Earth


“Great men are always of a nature originally melancholy.”

– Aristotle


“Hope that your loneliness may spur you into finding something to live for, great enough to die for.”

– Dag Hammarskjold


“To love is to risk, not being loved in return. to hope is to risk pain. to try is to risk failure. but risk must be taken because the greatest hazard in my life is to risk nothing.”

– Bob Marley


“The most dangerous risk of all – spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later.”

– Unknown


“There is no more mistaken path to happiness than worldliness, revelry, high life.”

– Arthur Schopenhauer, Our Relation to Others, § 24


“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggle develops your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.”

– Arnold Schwarzenegger


“I want to say to those who are trying to learn to speak and those who are teaching them: Be of good cheer. Do not think of to-day’s failures, but of the success that may come to-morrow. You have set yourselves a difficult task, but you will succeed if you persevere, and you will find a joy in overcoming obstacles — a delight in climbing rugged paths, which you would perhaps never know if you did not sometime slip backward — if the road was always smooth and pleasant. Remember, no effort that we make to attain something beautiful is ever lost. Sometime, somewhere, somehow we shall find that which we seek. We shall speak, yes, and sing, too, as God intended we should speak and sing.”

– Helen Keller, as quoted in Address to the American Association to Promote the Teaching of Speech to the Deaf (8 July 1896)


“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 had to overcome while trying to succeed.”

– Booker T. Washington


“Disenchantment, whether it is a minor disappointment or a major shock, is the signal that things are moving into transition in our lives.”

– William Throsby Bridge


 “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

– Thomas A. Edison


“Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.”

– Steve Jobs, Steve Jobs, the Journey Is the Reward (1988)


“Emergencies have always been necessary to progress. It was darkness which produced the lamp. It was fog that produced the compass. It was hunger that drove us to exploration. And it took a depression to teach us the real value of a job.”

Victor Hugo 


“Failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than I was and began diverting all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me.

– J.K. RowlingHarvard Commencement Address, 2008


“A sub-clerk in the post office is the equal of a conqueror if consciousness is common to them. All experiences are indifferent in this regard. There are some that do either a service or a disservice to man. They do him a service if he is conscious. Otherwise, that has no importance: a man’s failures imply judgment, not of circumstances, but of himself.”

– Albert Camus


“He yawned. He had finished the day and he had also finished with his youth. Various well-bred moralities had already discreetly offered him their services: disillusioned epicureanism, smiling tolerance, resignation, common sense stoicism – all the aids whereby a man may savour, minute by minute, like a connoisseur, the failure of a life.”

– Jean Paul Sartre, as quoted in L’âge de raison (The Age of Reason) (1945)


“A lifetime of blows tends to make a person unenthusiastic about any unnecessary interchange that might lead to more.”

– Robert Prisig


“My past has taught me that it is necessary to relinquish any thoughts of self-pity. The world is not fair, it never has been and it never will be. One must take their fate into their own hands and no one else. This does not diminish the importance of morality, rather it is morality that declares the boundaries of how far we can go. One is naive if they think the world is naturally egalitarian, for it is the furthest from it.”

-Alexander Di Fortitudo


“Seek out people who aren’t afraid of making mistakes and who, therefore, do make mistakes. Because of that, their work often isn’t recognized, but they are precisely the kind of people who change the world and, after many mistakes, do something that will transform their own community completely.”

– Paulo Coelho about Mistakes


“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”

– Maya Angelou


“I am an invisible man. 
No I am not a spook like those who haunted Edgar Allen Poe: 
Nor am I one of your Hollywood movie ectoplasms.
I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone, fiber and liquids
- and I might even be said to possess a mind. I am invisible, simply because people refuse to see me.”

– Ralph Ellison


“Sweet are the uses of adversity,
Which like the toad, ugly and venomous,
Wears yet a precious jewel in his head;
And this our life, exempt from public haunt,
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones, and good in everything.”

– William Shakespeare 


“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.”

– Anne Bradstreet


“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”

– Buddha


“Don’t Pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one”

– Bruce Lee,  ‘Meditations Divine and Moral


“He wins his battles by making no mistakes. Making no mistakes is what establishes the certainty of victory, for it means conquering an enemy that is already defeated. Hence the skillful fighter puts himself into a position which makes defeat impossible, and does not miss the moment for defeating the enemy.”

– Sun Tzu, As Quoted in the Art of War


“My great mistake, the fault for which I can’t forgive myself, is that one day I ceased my obstinate pursuit of my own individuality.”

– Oscar Wilde


“It’s always easy to blame others. You can spend your entire life blaming the world, but your successes or failures are entirely your own responsibility. You can try to stop time, but it’s a complete waste of energy.”

– Paulo Coelho about Failure


“Did you want to see it used by whining rotters who never rouse themselves to any effort, who do not possess the ability of a filing clerk, but demand the income of a company president, who drift from failure to failure and expect you to pay their bills, who hold their wishing as an equivalent of your work and their need as a higher claim to reward than your effort, who demand that you serve them, who demand that it be the aim of your life to serve them, who demand that your strength be the voiceless, rightless, unpaid, unrewarded slave of their impotence, who proclaim that you are born to serfdom by reason of your genius, while they are born to rule by the grace of incompetence, that yours is only to give, but theirs only to take, that yours is to produce, but theirs to consume…”

– Ayn Rand, Quotes from Atlas Shrugged


“I am responsible. Although I may not be able to prevent the worst from happening, I am responsible for my attitude toward the inevitable misfortunes that darken life. Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have – life itself.”

– Walter Anderson


“I leave comparisons to history, claiming only that I have acted in every instance from a conscientious desire to do what was right, constitutional, within the law, and for the very best interests of the whole people. Failures have been errors of judgment, not of intent.”

– Ulysses S. Grant


“What is joy without sorrow? What is success without failure? What is a win without a loss? What is health without illness? You have to experience each if you are to appreciate the other. there is always going to be suffering. it’s how you look at your suffering, how you deal with it, that will define you.”

― Mark Twain


“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson


“What mattered was not what happens to you, but how you handle it. Self-command is required to overcome the dangerous misinformation of our emotions, and because for the most part the self is the only thing that we can command. We have no control, ultimately, over what people do or think. What we can influence is our understanding of these circumstances and how we respond to them.”

– Daniel Akst


“Don’t fear failure…in great attempts it is glorious even to fail.”

– Bruce Lee


“Life is like riding a bicycle – in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving.”

– Albert Einstein


“When you find your path, you must not be afraid. You need to have sufficient courage to make mistakes. Disappointment, defeat, and despair are the tools God uses to show us the way.”

– Paulo Coelho


“Attention and activity lead to mistakes as well as to successes; but a life spent in making mistakes is not only more honorable but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.”

– George Bernard Shaw, Quotes from The Doctor’s Dilemma


“It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat.”

Theodore Roosevelt, Citizenship in a Republic, a speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, France (23 April 1910).


“Hell is when we look back during that fraction of a second and know that we wasted an opportunity to dignify the miracle of life. Paradise is being able to say at that moment: “I made some mistakes, but I wasn’t a coward. I lived my life and did what I had to do.”

– Paulo Coelho


“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

– Winston S. Churchill


“There are no mistakes. The events we bring upon ourselves, no matter how unpleasant, are necessary in order to learn what we need to learn; whatever steps we take, they’re necessary to reach the places we’ve chosen to go.”

– Richard Bach, “The Bridge Across Forever: A True Love Story” 

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