Real talk: nobody’s perfect. We stumble. We fall. We make mistakes. It’s easy to beat ourselves up when we fail, but the biggest mistake of all is to not get back up—or worse, let our fear of failure keep us from trying something to begin with.
Oftentimes, life’s greatest successes happen just a few steps beyond our perceived defeats. (I mean, where would we be today if Thomas Edison hadn’t attempted to create a light bulb 10,000 times before figuring it out?) The key is in recognizing that challenges offer the best opportunities for growth, and that failure isn’t fatal—it’s feedback. Learn from it. Embrace it. Use it as motivation to guide you to your best self.
Here are 25 of our favorite quotes on failure—that will inspire you to succeed.
“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” — Robert F. Kennedy
“I’ve missed more than 9,000 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
“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” — Samuel Beckett
“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
“If you're not failing 50% of the time, you're not setting big enough goals. So fall down. Fall down hard. Then stand right back up and show yourself exactly what you’re capable of.” — Kingsley Delacato
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” — Winston Churchill
“Success is most often achieved by those who don’t know that failure is inevitable.” — Coco Chanel
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” — Thomas Edison
“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” — Paulo Coelho
“Get comfortable with failure. We should all fail. I look forward to the adrenaline rush of failing. Failure is where growth begins.” — Mantas Zvinas
“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 Swoope
“Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.” — Truman Capote
“Have no fear of perfection—you’ll never reach it.” — Salvador Dali
“You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. 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
“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” — Winston Churchill
“Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat.” — F. Scott Fitzgerald
“If you fell down yesterday, stand up today.” — H.G. Wells
“The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.” — Henry Ford
“Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” — Napoelon Hill
“What is the point of being alive if you don’t at least try to do something remarkable?” — John Green
“It is fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.” — Bill Gates
“My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with failure.” — Abraham Lincoln
“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
“Failure is enriching. It’s also important to accept that you’ll make mistakes—it’s how you build your expertise. The trick is to learn a positive lesson from all of life’s negative moments.” — Alain Ducasse
“Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.” — Dale Carnegie
A beach bum at heart, Kirsten is a writer and editor living, working and playing in NYC. You can find her on Instagram @kirstenjoan.