Our culture worships success. Winning acceptance into an elite university, landing a job at a brand-name company, selling a startup at a multi-billion-dollar valuation. Milestones like these -- and so many more -- are celebrated constantly in the media and clog social media feeds.
Accomplishment feels great, sure. And just observing others succeed can be the inspiration you need to move forward in the face of challenge, work harder, and do what it takes to reach your own goals.
And failure? A cause for shame and apologies. Something to be covered up. But as anyone who has achieved anything of worth knows, failure is an integral part of the journey to success. And lest one forgets or dismisses this truth, just look at what some of the most accomplished people in history have said about failure -- what they've learned and how they've grown from their setbacks.
Here are 20 quotes from some of these people that might inspire you to see failure in a different light:
"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."
― Thomas A. Edison
"It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed."
― Theodore Roosevelt
"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts."
― Winston S. Churchill
"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
"Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly."
― Robert F. Kennedy
"Just because you fail once doesn't mean you're gonna fail at everything."
― Marilyn Monroe
"If we will be quiet and ready enough, we shall find compensation in every disappointment."
― Henry David Thoreau, I to Myself: An Annotated Selection from the Journal of Henry D. Thoreau
"Winners are not afraid of losing. But losers are. Failure is part of the process of success. People who avoid failure also avoid success."
― Robert T. Kiyosaki, Rich Dad, Poor Dad
"A hundred failures would not matter, when one single success could change the destiny of the world."
― Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey
"When you take risks you learn that there will be times when you succeed and there will be times when you fail, and both are equally important."
― Ellen DeGeneres, Seriously... I'm Kidding
"Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life."
― J.K. Rowling
"I want to do it because I want to do it. Women must try to do things as men have tried. When they fail, their failure must be but a challenge to others."
― Amelia Earhart
"Failures are finger posts on the road to achievement."
― C.S. Lewis
"I think it's important to have a good hard failure when you're young. I learned a lot out of that. Because it makes you kind of aware of what can happen to you. Because of it I've never had any fear in my whole life when we've been near collapse and all of that. I've never been afraid. I've never had the feeling I couldn't walk out and get a job doing something."
― Walt Disney
"It's not how far you fall, but how high you bounce that counts."
― Zig Ziglar
"The library is full of stories of supposed triumphs which makes me very suspicious of it. It's misleading for people to read about great successes, since even for middle-class and upper-class white people, in my experience, failure is the norm"
― Kurt Vonnegut, Hocus Pocus
"You build on failure. You use it as a stepping sone. 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
"Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again."
― Richard Branson
"Human beings are the only creatures who are allowed to fail. If an ant fails, it's dead. But we're allowed to learn from our mistakes and from our failures. And that's how I learn, by falling flat on my face and picking myself up and starting all over again."
― Madeleine L'Engle
"I'd rather be a failure in something that I love than a success in something that I hate."
― George Burns