107 Failure Quotes to Help You Bounce Back

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 most inspirational quotes 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 107 of the most motivating, helpful and encouraging quotes on failure and how to handle it from the past 2500 years.

Failure Quotes to Motivate You and Help You Bounce Back

82 Quotes on Failure and on How to Handle It (2019 Update)

“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.”

“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.”

“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

“Anyone who attempts is not a failure.”
– Sarah Dessen

“The master has failed more times than the beginner has tried.”
– Stephen McCranie

“Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.”
– Truman Capote

“Failure is success in progress.”
– Albert Einstein

“No man is defeated without until he has first been defeated within.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt

“Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead-end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.”
– Denis Waitley

“If you set your goals ridiculously high and it’s a failure, you will fail above everyone else’s success.”
– James Cameron

“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

“You make mistakes. Mistakes don’t make you.”
– Maxwell Maltz

“Success is not a good teacher, failure makes you humble.”
– Shah Rukh Khan

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

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

“It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.”
– Bill Gates

“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.”
– Randy Pausch

“You build on failure. You use it as a steppingstone. 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

“Failure is an attitude, not an outcome.”
– Harvey MacKay

“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.”
– Suzy Kassem

“Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.”
– Richard Branson

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.”
– Robert F. Kennedy

“I don’t believe in failure. It is not failure if you enjoyed the process.”
– Oprah Winfrey

“There is no such thing as failure, only results.”
– Tony Robbins

Children have a lesson adults should learn, to not be ashamed of failing, but to get up and try again. Most of us adults are so afraid, so cautious, so ‘safe,’ and therefore so shrinking and rigid and afraid that it is why so many humans fail. Most middle-aged adults have resigned themselves to failure.”
– Malcolm X

“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

“Life is full of screwups. You’re supposed to fail sometimes. It’s a required part of the human existance.”
– Sarah Dessen

“I can’t give you a sure-fire formula for success, but I can give you a formula for failure: try to please everybody all the time.”
– Herbert Bayard Swope

“The best way out is always through.”
– Robert Frost

“Just because you fail once doesn’t mean you’re gonna fail at everything.”
– Marilyn Monroe

“The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.”
– Henry Ford

“Failure is a detour, not a dead-end street.”
– Zig Ziglar

“It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.”
– Theodore Roosevelt

“It’s only when you risk failure that you discover things. When you play it safe, you’re not expressing the utmost of your human experience.”
– Lupita Nyong’o

“You can’t let your failures define you. You have to let your failures teach you.”
– Barack Obama

“If you fell down yesterday, stand up today.”
– H.G. Wells

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
– Thomas Edison

“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

“There is no failure except in no longer trying.”
– Elbert Hubbard

“Don’t worry about failures, worry about the chances you miss when you don’t even try.”
– Jack Canfield

“All my successes have been built on my failures.”
– Benjamin Disraeli

“Success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure.”
– Confucius

“It’s not how far you fall, but how high you bounce that counts.”
– Zig Ziglar

“All men make mistakes, but a good man yields when he knows his course is wrong, and repairs the evil. The only crime is pride.”
– Sophocles

“In any case, you must not confuse a single failure with a final defeat.“
– F. Scott Fitzgerald

“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”
– Oliver Goldsmith

“Your dream doesn’t have an expiration date. Take a deep breath and try again.”
– Unknown

“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

“Success is most often achieved by those who don’t know that failure is inevitable.”
– Coco Chanel

“I was never afraid of failure; for I would sooner fail than not be among the greatest.”
– John Keats

“You’re not obligated to win. You’re obligated to keep trying. To do the best you can do everyday.”
– Jason Mraz

“You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don’t try.”
– Beverly Sills

“Remember the two benefits of failure. First, if you do fail, you learn what doesn’t work; and second, the failure gives you the opportunity to try a new approach.”
– Roger Von Oech

“There is something good in all seeming failures. You are not to see that now. Time will reveal it. Be patient.”
– Swami Sivananda

“Do not let arrogance go to your head and despair to your heart; do not let compliments go to your head and criticisms to your heart; do not let success go to your head and failure to your heart.”
– Roy T. Bennett

“A bad day for your ego is a great day for your soul.”
– Jillian Michaels

“Giving up is the only sure way to fail.”
– Gena Showalter

“I want to do it because I want to do it. Women must try to do things as men have tried. When they fail, their failure must be but a challenge to others.”
– Amelia Earhart

“If you don’t try at anything, you can’t fail… it takes back bone to lead the life you want.”
– Richard Yates

“We need to accept that we won’t always make the right decisions, that we’ll screw up royally sometimes—understanding that failure is not the opposite of success, it’s part of success.”
– Arianna Huffington

“Never feel shame for trying and failing for he who has never failed is he who has never tried.”
– Og Mandino

“A thinker sees his own actions as experiments and questions–as attempts to find out something. Success and failure are for him answers above all.”
– Friedrich Nietzsche

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

“The person who failed often knows how to avoid future failures. The person who knows only success can be more oblivious to all the pitfalls.”
– Randy Pausch

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

“You always pass failure on your way to success.”
– Mickey Rooney

“Failure is a greater teacher than success”
– Clarissa Pinkola Estés

“Do not fear failure but rather fear not trying.”
– Roy T. Bennett

“If you don’t try at anything, you can’t fail… it takes back bone to lead the life you want”
– Richard Yates

“There is no failure except in no longer trying.”
– Chris Bradford

“What is the point of being alive if you don’t at least try to do something remarkable?”
– John Green

“But instead of spending our lives running towards our dreams, we are often running away from a fear of failure or a fear of criticism.”
– Eric Wright

“Don’t spend time beating on a wall, hoping to transform it into a door. ”
– Coco Chanel 

“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

Free Exclusive Happiness Tips

Subscribe to The Positivity Newsletter and get weekly tips on happiness, self-esteem and plenty more.

You’ll also get three free guides on how to stop being lazy, what to do when life sucks and 21 things I wish they’d taught me in school.

100% privacy and no spam. You can unsubscribe anytime.

About the Author

Henrik Edberg is the creator of the Positivity Blog and has written weekly articles here since 2006. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Gothenburg and has been featured on Lifehacker, HuffPost and Paulo Coelho’s blog. Click here to learn more…

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.

  • Justin

    Albert Einstein’s qoute.it’s real

  • 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.

  • Maneesh Sharma

    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.