Hide and Seek

Understanding self-deception, self-sabotage, and more

13 Thought-Provoking Quotes on Failure

Thoughts on failure from the most successful of Americans.

Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor. —Truman Capote

I've failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed. —Michael Jordan

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

I didn't fail the test, I just found 100 ways to do it wrong. —Benjamin Franklin

I have always been pushed by the negative. The apparent failure of a play sends me back to my typewriter that very night, before the reviews are out. I am more compelled to get back to work than if I had a success. —Tennessee Williams

Restlessness is discontent and discontent is the first necessity of progress. Show me a thoroughly satisfied man and I will show you a failure. —Thomas Edison

Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure... than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat. —Theodore Roosevelt

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He who risks and fails can be forgiven. He who never risks and never fails is a failure in his whole being. —Paul Tillich

It has always seemed strange to me... the things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling, are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self-interest, are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of the first they love the produce of the second. —John Steinbeck

The man who has won millions at the cost of his conscience is a failure. —BC Forbes

I would rather fail in a cause that will ultimately triumph than to triumph in a cause that will ultimately fail. —Woodrow Wilson

All of us failed to match our dreams of perfection. So I rate us on the basis of our splendid failure to do the impossible. —William Faulkner

Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything—all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure —these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. —Steve Jobs

Neel Burton is author of The Meaning of MadnessThe Art of Failure: The Anti Self-Help GuideHide and Seek: The Psychology of Self-Deceptionand other books.

Find Neel Burton on Twitter and Facebook 

Neel Burton, M.D., is a psychiatrist, philosopher, and writer who lives and teaches in Oxford, England.

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