Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Failure

"Learn the art of patience. Apply discipline to your thoughts when they become anxious over the outcome of a goal. Impatience breeds anxiety, fear, discouragement and failure. Patience creates confidence, decisiveness and a rational outlook, which eventually leads to success." - Brian Adam

"The hardest trial of the heart is, whether it can bear a rival's failure without triumph." -

"When an archer misses the mark he turns and looks for the fault within himself. Failure to hit the bull's-eye is never the fault of the target. To improve your aim improve yourself." -

"The purpose of this discipline is to bring man into the habit of applying the insight that has come to him as the result of the preceding disciplines. When one is rising, standing, walking, doing something, stopping, one should constantly concentrate one’s mind on the act and the doing of it, not on one’s relation to the act, or its character or value. One should think: there is walking, there is stopping, there is realizing; not, I am walking, I am doing this, it is a good thing, it is disagreeable, I am gaining merit, it is I who am realizing how wonderful it is. Thence come vagrant thoughts, feelings of elation or of failure and unhappiness. Instead of all this, one should simply practice concentration of the mind on the act itself, understanding it to be an expedient means for attaining tranquillity of mind, realization, insight and Wisdom; and one should follow the practice in faith, willingness and gladness. After long practice the bondage of old habits become weakened and disappears, and in its place appear confidence, satisfaction, awareness and tranquillity. What is the Way of Wisdom designed to accomplish? There are three classes of conditions that hinder one from advancing along the path to Enlightenment. First, there are the allurements arising from the senses, from external conditions and from the discriminating mind. Second, there are the internal conditions of the mind, its thoughts, desires and mood. All these the earlier practices (ethical and mortificatory) are designed to eliminate. In the third class of impediments are placed the individual’s instinctive and fundamental (and therefore most insidious and persistent) urges - the will to live and to enjoy, the will to cherish one’s personality, the will to propagate, which give rise to greed and lust, fear and anger, infatuation, pride and egotism. The practice of the Wisdom Paramita is designed to control and eliminate these fundamental and instinctive hindrances." - Aśvaghoṣa NULL

"Life is something you measure not in years but in precious moments - and in how you value those moments. The responsibility for making such moments meaningful is yours alone. There are no definitions of failure or success except the ones you specify for yourself. You are the meaning of your own life." - Rabbi Avraham of Sochotchov NULL

"The wise man learns to meet the changing circumstances of life with an equitable spirit, being neither elated by success nor depressed by failure. Thus one realizes the truth of non-duality." - Buddha, Gautama Buddha, or The Buddha, also Gotama Buddha, Siddhārtha Gautama Buddha and Buddha Śākyamuni NULL

"Self-confidence is not hope; it is the self-judgment of your own internal forces in their relation to the world without, which results from the failure of many; hopes and the non-realization of many fears." -

"The vices and the virtues are written in a language the world cannot construe; it reads them in a vile translation, and the translators are Failure and Success." -

"The only guide to a man is his conscience; the only shield to his memory is the rectitude and sincerity of his actions. It is very imprudent to walk through life without this shield, because we are often mocked by the failure of our hopes and the upsetting of our calculations; but with this shield, however the fates may play, we march always in the ranks of honour." -

"The failure of our modern world, with its moral and ethical collapse, may be traced directly to our spiritual ignorance and moral disobedience. The ethical conditions under which we live are disgracefully unsanitary. It is futile to expect peace and goodwill on earth while our homes are infested with the germs of selfishness, irreverence and lust. The world-wide epidemic of hatred, cruelty, murder and war is the inevitable result of our moral and spiritual disobedience. We cannot break the laws of the universe with impunity." - Allen E. Claxton

"The danger to America is not in the direction of the failure to maintain its economic position, but in the direction of the failure to maintain its ideals." - Calvin Coolidge, fully John Calvin Coolidge, Jr.

"View every difficult situation as an opportunity to grow and we will feel pleasure instead of pain from such situations. Failure to do so will cause you needless suffering." - Eliyahu Eliezer Dessler

"Search for a single, inclusive good is doomed to failure. Such happiness as life is capable of comes from the full participation of all our powers in the endeavor to wrest from each changing situation of experience its own full and unique meaning." - John Dewey

"Show me a thoroughly satisfied man - and I will show you a failure." -

"He's no failure. He's not dead yet." - William Lloyd George, 3rd Viscount Tenby

"Character is the beginning and the end of all things. Without it, we have only the ashes of a people's failure; with it, we have the rainbow of civilization's desires." - Eric Allen Johnston

"We are constantly repeating messages in our minds. If they are negative: “I’m a failure,” “The world is an awful place,” “Nothing ever goes right,” we make our lives miserable. We have the ability to consciously make an effort to repeat to our selves positive messages: “I have the ability to keep improving,” “The world contains many wonderful opportunities,” “Everything that happens to me can be used for growth”... Little by little they will have a positive effect on your personality and emotions." - Ya’akov Dov "Katzele" Katz

"When at some future date the high court of history sits in judgment of each one of us - recording whether in our brief span of service we fulfilled our responsibilities to the state - our success or failure, in whatever office we may hold, will be measured by the answers to four questions - were we truly men of courage... were we truly men of judgment... were we truly men of integrity... were we truly men of dedication?" - John F. Kennedy, fully John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy

"Failure is the foundation of success; success is the lurking-place of failure." -

"A moral obligation is no less compelling because it may end in failure." -

"We are not asking our children to do their own best but to be the best. Education is in danger of becoming a religion based on fear; its doctrine is to compete. The majority of our children are being led to believe that they are doomed to failure in a world which has room only for those at the top." - Eda J. LeShan

"Not failure, but low aim, is crime." - James Russell Lowell

"Man's conquest of nature has been astonishing. His failure to conquer human nature has been tragic." - Julius Mark

"The common idea that success spoils people making them vain, egotistic and self-complacent is erroneous; on the contrary, it makes them for the most part, humble, tolerant and kind. Failure makes people cruel and bitter." -

"It is not enough to begin; continuance is necessary. Mere enrollment will not make one scholar; the pupil must continue in the school through the long course, until he masters every branch. Success depends upon staying power. The reason for failure in most cases is lack of perseverance." - J. R. Miller, fully James Russell Miller

"Each of us was placed here for a special purpose. I believe that it is each person’s responsibility to determine what he or she can do to make the world a better place - and then go out and do it... Take full responsibility for our actions. Risk failure." - Henry Ross Perot

"Society is ever ready to worship success, but rarely forgives failure." - Madame Roland, Jeanne Manon Philon, born Marie-Jeanne Phlipon

"It takes two to make a marriage a success and only one a failure." - Lord Samuel, Herbert Louis Samuel, First Viscount Samuel

"Man is at his best when stimulated by hope of reward, fear of failure, and the light of a star." - Erwin H. Schell

"The difference between failure and success is doing a thing nearly right and doing it exactly right." - Edward C. Simmons

"It is a mistake to suppose that men succeed through success; they much oftener succeed through failure." - Samuel Smiles

"Success and failure are not absolutes. They exist only in relation to your expectations, or to a given norm." - Tauri NULL

"Tactlessness is a pain-giving failure to hit upon the right moment." - Theophrastus NULL

"Failure changes to success when one acquires self-knowledge." - Louise A. Vernon

"A success is one who decided to succeed - and worked. A failure is one who decided to succeed - and wished. A decided failure is one who failed to decide - and waited." -

"Every failure is a step to success; every detection of what is false directs us toward what is true; every trial exhausts some tempting form of error. Not only so, but scarcely any attempt is entirely a failure; scarcely any theory, is the result of steady thought, is altogether false; no tempting form of error is without some latent charm derived from truth." - William Whewell

"Thought is born of failure." - Lancelot Law Whyte

"Let's learn and label properly Disappointment and Discouragement for what they are - two completely different states of mind. Disappointment can be a spur to improvement that will contribute to success. But Discouragement is a mortal enemy that destroys courage and robs one of the will to fight. It is not circumstance that causes Discouragement, but one's own reaction to that circumstance. Everyone must meet Disappointment, many times; it is simply a part of life. When it is met, we may resign ourselves to Discouragement and failure. Or we may recognize each Disappointment as an asset by which we can profit, and take new strength from a lesson learned. The choice is ours, each time, to make." - John M. Wilson, fully John Moulder Wilson

"Failure is an event... never a person." -

"There is no success with God, nor is there failure before him." - Amen-em-apt NULL

"Life is an apprenticeship to constant renunciations, to the steady failure of our claims, our hopes, our powers, our liberty." -

"While an open mind is priceless, it is priceless only when its owner has the courage to make a final decision which closes the mind for action after the process of viewing all sides of the question has been completed. Failure to make a decision after due consideration of all the facts will quickly brand a man unfit for a position of responsibility. Not all of your decisions will be correct. None of us is perfect. But if you get into the habit of making decisions, experience will develop your judgment to a point where more and more of your decisions will be right. After all, it is better to be right 51 percent of the time and get something done, than it is to get nothing done because you fear to reach a decision." - H. W. Andrews

"When an archer misses the mark he turns and looks for the fault within himself. Failure to hit the bull's-eye is never the fault of the target. To improve your aim, improve yourself." -

"Search for a single, inclusive good is doomed to failure. Such happiness as life is capable of comes from the full participation of all our powers in the endeavor to wrest from each changing situation of experience its own full and unique meaning." - Gamaliel Bailey

"Good education is not so much one which prepares a man to succeed in the world as one which enables him to sustain failure." - Bernard Iddings Bell, formerly Bruce Chilton, fully Canon Bernard Iddings Bell

"The only way an artist can ever personally be a failure is to quit work." - Thomas Hart Benton

"A failure establishes only this, that our determination to succeed was not strong enough." - John Christian Bovee

"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

"A first failure is often a blessing." -

"All that happens in the world of nature and man - every war, every peace, every horn of prosperity, every horn of adversity, every election, every death, every life, every success and every failure, all change, all permanence, the perished leer, the unutterable glory of stars - all things speak truth in the thoughtful spirit." - Rufus Choate