Failing is something we spend our lives trying to avoid. We hold ourselves back from doing things that carry a high chance of losing purely to prevent the humiliation it could bring. However, we all have a twisted perspective on what failure actually means. Failing does not mean the end, nor does it mean we move further away from success. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

Losses are always full of lessons. If you stop feeling sorry for yourself and change your mindset, you’ll better understand why it didn’t work out and what you need to change to make it happen next time. When you’re able to step back and look at things with fresh eyes, you’ll see how every failure is, in fact, a stepping stone to success.

Of course, if you’re currently reeling from an embarrassing loss, finding the positive in the situation is not easy. Luckily, reading failure quotes will help you realize that this is a good thing. The following inspiring quotes about failure come from successful people whose losses got them to where they are today.

With these inspiring stories, you’ll start to overcome your biggest failures and put their lessons into practice, moving closer to reaching your goals and dreams.

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

2. “You were not made for failure, you were made for victory. Go forward with a joyful confidence.” – George Eliot

3. “The most important element in the failure equation is your personal commitment to keep trying.” – Catherine Pulsifer

4. “With a hint of good judgment, to fear nothing, not failure or suffering or even death, indicates that you value life the most. You live to the extreme; you push limits; you spend your time building legacies. Those do not die.” – Criss Jami

5. “Wanting to always be perfect and procrastinating on tasks you see as challenging for fear of failure to achieve perfect results is a recipe for physical and emotional problems.” – Brian Karr

6. “Sometimes, we’re afraid we’ll fail. At other times, we’re subconsciously afraid we’ll succeed because we are fearful of the consequences of our achievements.” – Romuald Andrade

7. “Sometimes, we’re afraid we’ll fail. At other times, we’re subconsciously afraid we’ll succeed because we are fearful of the consequences of our achievements.” – Romuald Andrade

8. “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

9. “Change is gradual, trying to change too many things at once is what leads to frustration and failure – instead, pick any one particular trait or characteristic that you would like to change and start working specifically on that.” – Michael Andrews

10. “In the business world today, failure is apparently not an option. We need to change this attitude toward failure – and celebrate the idea that only by falling on our collective business faces do we learn enough to succeed down the road.” – Naveen Jain

11. “Don’t be afraid of missing opportunities. Behind every failure is an opportunity somebody wishes they had missed.” – Lily

12. “I can accept failure. Everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.” ― Michael Jordan

13. “If I fail, I try again, and again, and again. If YOU fail, are you going to try again? The human spirit can handle much worse than we realize. It matters HOW you are going to FINISH. Are you going to finish strong?” – Nick Vujicic

14. “Failure happens all the time. It happens every day in practice. What makes you better is how you react to it.” – Mia Hamm

15. “Failure is not falling down but refusing to get up.” – Chinese proverb

16. “One of the common failings among honorable people is a failure to appreciate how thoroughly dishonorable some other people can be, and how dangerous it is to trust them.” – Thomas Sowell

17. “Failure to focus dilutes results. Paying full attention boosts your brain power, strengthens your synaptic connections, and creates the neural pathways that eventually turn your actions into your actuality.” – Honoree Corder

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

19. “If you’re not failing every now and again, it’s a sign you’re not doing anything very innovative.” – Woody Allen

20. “When you take risks, you learn that there will be times when you succeed, and there will be times when you fail, and both are equally important.” – Ellen DeGeneres

21. “Failure is a part of the process. You just learn to pick yourself back up.” ― Michelle Obama

22. “Failure is an inescapable part of life and a critically important part of any successful life.” – Tal Ben-Shahar

23. “Failures are not a bad thing. As a matter of fact, they are just an evidence that human race are created not to be perfect.” – Kellie Sullivan

24. “You are not afraid of failing. You know that as long as you are doing what you are supposed to do, you cannot call yourself a failure. Failure is an event; not a person.” – Rahul Badami

25. “Often the difference between a successful person and a failure is not one has better abilities or ideas, but the courage that one has to bet on one’s ideas, to take a calculated risk – and to act.” – Andre Malraux

26. “Failure is hard. But turn those failures into learning experiences, so that you’ll look back and be happy that you failed, because you gained more knowledge from that experience. Sometimes, it’s simply an indication to change your strategy instead of giving up completely.” – Albert Rogers

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

28. “When I was young, I observed that nine out of 10 things I did were failures. So I did 10 times more work.” – George Bernard Shaw

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

30. “Failure. The very word strikes fear in many of us. The idea that we might attempt to achieve something that we want at a deep level – to put our deepest desires on the line – and fall short, is downright scary.” – Vic Johnson

31. “For 99.9% of us, we don’t listen anywhere near enough. And not listening is the leading cause of failure in today’s economy.” – Peter Shankman

32. “Man was never designed to live in failure or lack. Failure and lack go against every inherent instinct in man. No matter how hard life is, there is a constant struggle in man to somehow make it better.” – James B. Richards

33. When we Christians behave badly, or fail to behave well, we are making Christianity unbelievable to the outside world. – C. S. Lewis

34. “The real test is not whether you avoid this failure, because you won’t. It’s whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it; whether you choose to persevere.” – Barack Obama

35. “Some people use failure as an excuse to give up, to become bitter, or cynical. Other people look at failure as an opportunity to revisit past decisions and to devise new strategies.” – Catherine Pulsifer

36. “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

37. “Failures, repeated failures, are finger posts on the road to achievement. One fails forward toward success.” – C. S. Lewis

38. “There’s no reason to fear (temporary) failure. What others may call a failure is only a temporary set back if you really believe in your dreams.” – Kory Livingstone

39. “Failure is a part of life. From time to time you will fail at something. That does not mean that you should give up and never be happy.” – Clement Getate

40. “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

41. “The person interested in success has to learn to view failure as a healthy, inevitable part of the process of getting to the top.” – Joyce Brothers

42. “You can learn a lot from failure, but that requires you to continue moving forward despite having failed.” – Darcy Oordt

43. Do not fear mistakes. You will know failure. Continue to reach out. – Benjamin Franklin

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

45. “And when you succeed or fail at something, ask yourself what it was about the strategies you employed, or the level of effort, that was behind it.” – Martin Kaye

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

47. “Failure is so important. We speak about success all the time. It is the ability to resist failure or use failure that often leads to greater success. I’ve met people who don’t want to try for fear of failing.” – K. Rowling

48. “I thank God for my failures. Maybe not at the time, but after some reflection. I never feel like a failure just because something I tried has failed.” – Dolly Parton

49. “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

50. “Not getting my desired outcome is not a failure but a sign that more learning and practice are required here, and an opportunity to acknowledge myself that I tried.” – Yael Philosof

It’s easy to write off a failure as a terrible experience and give up altogether. However, failures are only reflections of our past, signaling what we need to do differently, and are never a vision of the future.

If you’re struggling to overcome a recent challenge, print these failure quotes and read them as often as you need until you find the lesson in the loss. Then, once you figure out why things didn’t work out this time, create your new killer strategy to smash your goal once and for all.


Reads and writes a little about everything. Strives to keep an open mind, a good health, and a humble personality. Lives to absorb life's lessons, to learn a bit more about living.

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