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

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.


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


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


3.      “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


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


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


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


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


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


9.      “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


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


11.    “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


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


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


14.   “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


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


16.   “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


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


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


19.   “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


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


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


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


23.  “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


24.  “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


25.  “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


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


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


28.  “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


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


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


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


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


33.  “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


34.  “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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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