≡ Menu

41 Inspiring Quotes on Failure (and How to Handle It)

On some days things don’t go as planned. You fall. Or fail. Or stumble.

It’s a part of a life well lived but how you look at and handle these dark or negative situations can have a huge impact on your life, success and happiness.

In this week's article I'd like to share the best advice and thoughts on failure from the past from the people who walked this earth before us (well, quite a few of them are still here and walking among us).

This is 41 of the most motivating, though-provoking and helpful thoughts on failure and how to handle it from the past 2500 years.

“Failures are finger posts on the road to achievement.”
C. S. Lewis

“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.”
– Michael Jordan

“No man ever achieved worth-while success who did not, at one time or other, find himself with at least one foot hanging well over the brink of failure.“
Napoleon Hill

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.”
Samuel Beckett

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

“An inventor fails 999 times, and if he succeeds once, he’s in. He treats his failures simply as practice shots.”
Charles F. Kettering

“Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising every time we fail.”
Confucius

“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”
Henry Ford

“When I was young, I observed that nine out of ten things I did were failures. So I did ten times more work.”
– George Bernard Shaw

“A man may fail many times but he isn’t a failure until he begins to blame somebody else.”
John Burroughs

“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.”
J.K. Rowling

“To be wrong is nothing unless you continue to remember it.”
Confucius

“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.”
Albert Einstein

“Try a thing you haven’t done three times. Once, to get over the fear of doing it. Twice, to learn how to do it. And a third time to figure out whether you like it or not.”
Virgil Thomson

“When we give ourselves permission to fail, we, at the same time, give ourselves permission to excel.”
Eloise Ristad

“Part of being a man is learning to take responsibility for your successes and for your failures. You can’t go blaming others or being jealous. Seeing somebody else’s success as your failure is a cancerous way to live.”
Kevin Bacon

“A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.”
Douglas Adams

“Failure isn’t fatal, but failure to change might be.”
John Wooden

“I’ve come to believe that all my past failure and frustrations were actually laying the foundation for the understandings that have created the new level of living I now enjoy.”
Anthony Robbins

“Failure after long perseverance is much grander than never to have a striving good enough to be called a failure.”
George Eliot

“A man may fall many times, but he won't be a failure until he says that someone pushed him.”
Elmer G. Letterman

“A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable but more useful than a life spent in doing nothing.”
George Bernard Shaw

“What do you first do when you learn to swim? You make mistakes, do you not? And what happens? You make other mistakes, and when you have made all the mistakes you possibly can without drowning – and some of them many times over – what do you find? That you can swim? Well – life is just the same as learning to swim! Do not be afraid of making mistakes, for there is no other way of learning how to live!”
Alfred Adler

“Winners are not afraid of losing. But losers are. Failure is part of the process of success. People who avoid failure also avoid success.”
Robert T. Kiyosaki

“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
Michael Jordan

“Failure is nature’s plan to prepare you for great responsibilities.”
Napoleon Hill

“You’ll always miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”
Wayne Gretzky

“A man must be big enough to admit his mistakes, smart enough to profit from them, and strong enough to correct them.”
John C. Maxwell

“There are no failures – just experiences and your reactions to them.”
Tom Krause

“Success isn’t permanent and failure isn’t fatal.”
Mike Ditka

“Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.”
Winston Churchill

“Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of a greater or equal benefit.”
Napoleon Hill

“The biggest risk is not taking any risk. In a world that changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.”
Mark Zuckerberg

“No human ever became interesting by not failing. The more you fail and recover and improve, the better you are as a person. Ever meet someone who’s always had everything work out for them with zero struggle? They usually have the depth of a puddle. Or they don’t exist.”
Chris Hardwick

“The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one.”
Elbert Hubbard

“If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you always got.”
Mark Twain

“Success builds character, failure reveals it.”
Dave Checkett

“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.”
Jack Canfield

“If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.”
Ken Robinson

“Remember that failure is an event, not a person.”
Zig Ziglar

“Most great people have attained their greatest success just one step beyond their greatest failure.”
Napoleon Hill

What is your favorite quote on failure? Feel free to share the best one(s) you have found in this article or in your life in the comments section below.

Free Exclusive Happiness Tips

When you join the 80,000 people that are subscribed to the Positivity Newsletter you will not only get practical tips on happiness, self-esteem, productivity and more in your inbox each week.

You’ll also get these three guides for free:

-> 21 Things I Wish They Had Taught Me in School.
-> 7 Steps to Stop Being So Lazy.
-> 10 Things You Can Do When Life Sucks.
100% privacy and no spam. You can unsubscribe anytime.


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Beckett’s quote is my favourite! ;) #keepgrowing #keepcreating

  • its correct Failure is nature’s plan to prepare you for great responsibilities. if you fail again and again, you have many ways they are not working and move to the right way.

  • mulusew

    realy interesting and helpful. there is failure at z begning of new thing.

  • I am quickly becoming a fan of your blog. You really give some great advice, but this time it is a twist, you let your words be spoken through these motivating, thought-provoking and helpful thoughts on failure and how to handle it, all by different people throughout the years.

    This is a very creative way to talk about it, just by posting other people’s quotes on the subject. I thank you for your post and your creativity. Creativity is what I love sharing with my readers on my blog Creative Signals.

  • Great blog. I read the first time and i have to say. It is really good. And the best thing is that we can get inspired by the famous and great personalities. Great blog really. I wish you all the luck buddy.

  • Rick

    I love the way you take the time to curate great quotes, Henrik. Awesome job as always!

  • Great blog. Just came across it a couple of minutes ago and i loved this article. The way you carefully picked out some of the wisest men of our time to inspire the world.
    Kudos. I also seek to inspire the world into action. There’s a lot of potential out there. I hate to see it go to waste.