Quotes on Success & Failure from History

10 Picture Quotes on Failure and Success (from histories greatest successes)

Looking for good quotes on failure & success?

Wondering what it take to succeed? If you believe these quotes, it takes failing first.

It is a common theme in success quotes and personal development in general, that a stepping stone to success is failure. This is due to the fact that most people who succeed on any massive level are people who try… everything, and as a result, may often fail.

They get out there and take risks. Sometimes they succeed and sometimes they fail. But as these quotes on failure & success clearly show us, even our failures are teachable moments where we can sometimes get the tools we need to achieve later success.

Ask just about any successful entrepreneur and they will gladly tell you about their major mistakes, missteps and failures. They happen to us all.  They key is not to let them get you down or discourage you, but to learn and grow from them. Never repeating the same mistake.

This page is the 3rd of a three page series on success quotes. If you missed it you can see the first page of success quotes here.

Well enough from me. Let's get to the failure quotes… so that you can be inspired and motivated to achieve your ultimate success.

Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm– Winston Churchill quote

Churchill success quotes

By most accounts Winston Churchill is consider one of the greatest leaders of the 20th century.  If not one of the greatest leaders of all time. He was the statesman who kept the British will running high despite early losses to the German Nazi regime. But he was also a man who understood failure, as much as he understood the power of optimism and positive thinking. Churchill's first MAJOR political posting was as Lord of the Admiralty during World War I, a post he was dismissed from after the disaster of the battle of Gallipolli was laid at his doorstep.

Considering he had been part of planning what has been one of the worst military disasters in history, Churchill never lost his optimism and enthusiasm. He kept fighting for the things he believed in and eventually resumed a position of power as Prime Minister, a job he did so well, it seemed he was born to do it.

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

Confucious success quote

Confucius shows us that great thinkers have understood that failure is not the END of things for over 2500 years. For his entire life Confucius believed his teachings could improve his society.  He kept trying to get appointments to positions of authority, but for one small exception he kept failing. His central views of honesty in all things was just to radical for the leaders of the time. His goal of changing society from the top down as a total failure.

However, Confucious' teachings resounded with the people and he did effect a great many changes (most posthumously) from a groundswell that came from the bottom up. If Confucius had let failure get the better of him we would have lost one of the greatest philosophers of all time.

READ: Why people struggle with habit routines and how to get it right next time

Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.-Albert Einstein quote

albert einstein success and failure quotes

Albert Einstein is considered by most to be one of histories preeminent geniuses. As this quote on failure shows, however, he absolutely understood that people make mistakes and fail sometimes. He was considered a dull young boy, even failing some classes at school. He had numerous errors in his work.  In fact, his first proof of his most famous work The Theory of Relativity (E=MC2) had a mathematical error.

Check out some of Einstein's blunders

Success is measured by how high you bounce when you hit bottom– George S. Patton quote

george s patton success quotes

At first glance it is hard to find much failure in the story of George S. Patton. He was a fairly successful at West Point. He was very successful as a young officer fighting Pancho Villa and during World War I. He made a name for himself as a brilliant tank commander in World War II.  His military success, however, was not about wild risk taking. He was a meticulous planner, who understood that when the battle starts plans always fail.

He created his amazing string of victories on the back of this understanding by planning contingencies and training a resilient officer corp who knew how to react when plans went awry. The key to this was his statement on failure “bounce”.  Failure happens as surely as the sun rises… but how will YOU react to it?

SEE: 43 Experts share their #1 Daily Success Routine

When everything seems to be going against you remember that an airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.-Henry Ford quote

henry ford success quotes

People remember Henry Ford as the man who brought the automobile to the people. However, not many people know that the Ford Motor Company was the 4th car company that Henry Ford started.  The first three ended in failure. For Ford Motor Company, however, Ford had learned his lessons and made reasonably priced, quality cars for the masses by nearly single handled inventing the assembly line.

In this success and failure quote Ford reminds us that adversity is necessary to accomplish great things.  It is hard to make great achievements when everything is “good”.  But if you want “great” then you need the opposition to achieve those wonderful things that help you reach the next level.

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Everything you want is on the other side of fear.– Jack Canfield quote

Jack Canfield success quotes

Jack Canfield (and out next “quoteee”) are from the “modern” portion of our greatest success and failure quotes of history list.

Jack Canfield became world famous for his series of books, Chicken Soup for the soul, which feature inspirational stories out of every day peoples lives. JAck has made his living as an entrepreneur, motivational speaker and training CEOs to be more effective leaders. His book, The Success Principles: How to Get From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be. Is a seminal work on what it takes to achieve success in modern life.

Jack reminds us that fear is an illusory boundary. Fear, specifically the fear of failure, often keep people away from achieving the results they want. As we learn from all of these failure quotes, fear is something you should never attach to failure. After all failure can be a path to success.

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The Phoenix must burn to emerge.– Janet Fitch quote

Janet Fitch Success Quotes

Leave it to the most literary of the quotees on his list to come up with the most literary quote. Janet Fitch is the author of White Oleander (among other fiction books). Which was an Oprah book club book.. and was made into a movie of the same name in 2002.

Janet's success quote reminds us of the mythological bird.  According to the legend the Phoenix dies in a show of flames and combustion, then arises greater than ever from the ashes of its defeat.

Learn how the story of the Phoenix can help you deal with challenging circumstances.

Most people have attained their greatest success just one step beyond their greatest failure.– Napoleon Hill quote

Napoleon Hill Success Quotes

Napoleon Hill is often considered to be the “father of self help” due to his book, “Think and Grow Rich“. This book was the result of more than twenty years of study of many individuals who had amassed personal fortunes. In this book he often talks about failure and how one of the thing that separated the people he interviewed from “normal” people was their reaction to failure.

Ole' Napoleon has quite a few good quotes on failure and success. It is a recurring topic in his book.

Get “Think and Grow Rich eBook for only $.99

I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that won't work. -Thomas A. Edison quote

thomas edison success quotes

Edison is always held up as the gold standard of trying and failing…then trying again. Famously, he failed his attempts at making a light-bulb work over 10,000 times. Rather than getting frustrated or moving on to another project he made this famous quote on failure & success.

While 10,000 failures might discourage even the most starry-eyed optimist, it could always be that 10,001st attempt that provides the breakthrough that leads to invention and creation. You just need to keep plugging away… like Edison.

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If you do what you have always done, you'll get what you've always gotten.-Tony Robbins quote

Tony RObbins Success Quotes

Finally we have a quote from Tony Robbins. Tony is one of the most popular self help, motivational and inspirational speakers and writers of our time. Most of Robbins personal “failure” came as a young man. His step father left him at a young age, and his mother began to abuse prescription drugs and alcohol.  This left him the primary care giver of this younger siblings at a young age.  Rather than folding due to this intense pressure he used this to help him rise to become the mega success he is today.

His quote is an important one. The things we “do” daily in our lives are part of our comfort zone. They make us feel safe and secure.  But they are also the things that hold us back. You need to try new things (and perhaps fail) to get out of that comfort zone and actually make changes in your life that matter.

Make simple change in your life: with a HUGE impact

30 Success Quotes

Quotes on Failure and Success: Thoughts?

Failure and Success quotes if the final part of my three part quotes series.  If you misses any of the sections you can see the first one here. I hope you enjoyed the picture series. And perhaps get a little bit of insight  or inspiration on what it will take to achieve your own personal success.

Click below to go back to the first page of success quotes. Please return to the first page to leave any comments. I would love to know your favorite quotes on this page.  Any great quotes on success I should add to a future page 4. Even any pictures you think were a little less than stellar.  (I can take the criticism.)

Back to Page One: Success Quotes

What are your favorite success quotes? Let me know your favorite quotes in the comments section of the first page. Remember to share the best one(s) on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, Twitter or your favorite social network.

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