Inspiring Stories and Quotes on Failure and Dealing with Failure

Failure, or failing at something, is a part of life. People experience failure both in their personal and professional lives on a daily basis. The great thing about failure is that it provides you with a second chance. You get the opportunity to pick yourself up once again, come back stronger and have another go! You learn from your mistakes and your failures, and use them as stepping stones to achieve success and greatness, be it in your personal life or in your professional!

In other words, failure is a great teacher. One of the best, in fact!

The fact is that everyone fails, or experiences failure in their life. Even wildly successful and famous people – people who have seemingly achieved just about everything in life – have experienced failure and the disappointment that comes with it many times in their life. How they chose to deal with their failures is what made them successful, and got them to where they are today!

Oprah Winfrey was fired from her job as a television reporter because she was was told that she was unfit for TV. Oprah of course then went on to conquer TV, and is today known as the queen of television talk-shows! She’s one of the most successful women in the world today (not to mention one of the richest), and someone who’s looked up to by millions! One of her most famous quotes is: “Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another stepping stone to greatness!”

Steven Speilberg – a man whose films have grossed over a colossal $8.5 billion in total! – was rejected admission into his dream film school… three times! Today, he is one of the most successful film directors in the world! He is also worth over $3 billion!

“You might never fail on the scale I did. But 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 fail by default.” The golden words of J.K. Rowling –  the famous author of Harry Potter fame – who was a penniless and divorced single mother living on welfare not so long ago. Now, she is a billionaire and one of the richest people in England!

You may be surprised to know that Steve Jobs – the man that has made Apple into one of the most successful and richest companies in the world, the man behind the super-successful iPhone, iPod and the iPad, and the man who singlehandedly revolutionized the tech industry as we knew it – was not only a fired tech executive and an unsuccessful businessman, he was also unceremoniously removed from Apple, the company he founded, when he was 30. This is what he said about his failure: “I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.”

Michael Jordan, perhaps the greatest basketball player of all time, was cut from his high school basketball team! A then-young Michael Jordan went home and cried in the privacy of his bedroom. “I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed!” is what he has to say about failure!

Similarly, Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor because he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” He was also a failed businessman. He then went on to create Disney Land and Mickey Mouse, and the rest, as they say, is history! It is said that he got turned down more than 300 times before he was able to get financing for Disney Land!

Then we have Richard Branson, businessman/entrepreneur extraordinaire and a billionaire, who’s had his fair share of failures and has lost a ton of money in the process. Did his failure stop him? Apparently not, he owns countless successful businesses all over the world today – said to be worth $5 billion and generating and annual revenue of $21.3 billion total! – and he himself is worth more than $4 billion!

If there’s one thing that the stories above teach us, it’s that it is all about how badly you want something and how you react to failure, disappointments and rejection.

For me, it’s how you deal with failure that defines who you really are!

Here are some of the best, most inspirational quotes on failure, and dealing with failure:

“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”

— Henry Ford

 “Failure can either be a stepping stone to success or a stumbling to defeat.”

— Ron Holland

“The business empires built by successful entrepreneurs were erected on the foundation of past failures.”

— Ajaero Tony Martins

 “Greatness is not achieved by never falling but by rising each time we fall.”

— Confucius

“Like success, failure is many things to many people. With positive mental attitude, failure is a learning experience, a rung on the ladder, and a plateau at which to get your thoughts in order to prepare to try again.”

— W. Clement Stone

“Sheer persistence is the difference between success and failure.”

— Donald Trump

“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I cannot accept not trying.”

— Michael Jordan

“Be the one thing you think you cannot do. Fail at it. Try again. Do better the second time. The only people who never tumble are those who never mount the high wire. This is your moment, own it.”

— Oprah Winfrey

“Losers quit when they fail. Winners fail until they succeed.”

— Robert Kiyosaki

Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It’s quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure. You are thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn’t at all. You can be discouraged by failure or you can learn from it. So go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because remember that’s where you’ll find success.”

— Thomas J. Watson

  • […] And indeed, his words are spot on! Ask any successful man – someone who’s accomplished a thing or two in his career, he’ll pretty much echo Powell’s words. ‘Success’ isn’t really something that happens by chance or luck, success is a combination of being prepared, working hard (which for me, is the most important ingredient), and of course, using failure as a teacher and learning from it. […]

  • >