My greatest failure in life birthed my writing career.

I burned out in the corporate world, came to a tire-skid stop in 2001, and then started writing for a living. Since then, I've never regretted the setback.

Maybe you've been there. A black mark on your record becomes a green-means-go calling card. A startlingly bad decision leads to an opportunity to make amends--and achieve even more success at work. A pink slip gives you a glowing opportunity.

You're in good company. These quotes from famous entrepreneurs and pundits on "failure" are more about turning setbacks into successes. let them inspire you to keep going. And let me know if it works. I'm interested in hearing about your setback.

1. "You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. 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

2. "Failures are finger posts on the road to achievement." C. S. Lewis

3. "I knew that if I failed I wouldn't regret that, but I knew the one thing I might regret is not trying." Jeff Bezos

4. "A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable but more useful than a life spent in doing nothing." George Bernard Shaw

5. "Sheer persistence is the difference between success and failure." Donald Trump

6. "How many people are completely successful in every department of life? Not one. The most successful people are the ones who learn from their mistakes and turn their failures into opportunities." Zig Ziglar

7. "Don't limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as your mind lets you. What you believe, remember, you can achieve." Mary Kay Ash

8. "When I'm old and dying, I plan to look back on my life and say 'wow, that was an adventure,' not 'wow, I sure felt safe'." Tom Preston-Werner, Github co-founder

9. "Don't worry about failure; you only have to be right once." Drew Houston, Dropbox founder and CEO

10. "The very first company I started failed with a great bang. The second one failed a little bit less, but still failed. The third one, you know, proper failed, but it was kind of okay. I recovered quickly. Number four almost didn't fail. It still didn't really feel great, but it did okay. Number five was PayPal." Max Levchin, former PayPal CTO

11. "Losers quit when they fail. Winners fail until they succeed." Robert Kiyosaki

12. "The important thing is not being afraid to take a chance. Remember, the greatest failure is to not try. Once you find something you love to do, be the best at doing it." Debbi Fields

13. "The critical ingredient is getting off your butt and doing something. It's as simple as that. A lot of people have ideas, but there are few who decide to do something about them now. Not tomorrow. Not next week. But today. The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer." Nolan Bushnell

14. "Most great people have attained their greatest success just one step beyond their greatest failure." Napoleon Hill

15. "Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning." Bill Gates

16. "As I look back on my life, I realize that every time I thought I was being rejected from something good, I was actually being re-directed to something better." Steve Maraboli

17. "Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren't used to an environment where excellence is expected." Steve Jobs

18. "Whether you think that you can, or that you can't, you are usually right." Henry Ford

19. "I think I was very naive early on, but that also meant I didn't know what couldn't be done." Matt Mickiewicz

20. "The biggest risk is not taking any risk. In a world that changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks." Mark Zuckerberg

21. "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." Thomas Edison

22. "Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain

23. "When I was growing up, my dad would encourage my brother and I to fail. We would be sitting at the dinner table and he would ask, 'So what did you guys fail at this week?' If we didn't have something to contribute, he would be disappointed. When I did fail at something, he'd high-five me. What I didn't realize at the time was that he was completely reframing my definition of failure at a young age. To me, failure means not trying; failure isn't the outcome. If I have to look at myself in the mirror and say, 'I didn't try that because I was scared,' that is failure." Sara Blakely, Spanx founder

24. "My mother always taught me never to look back in regret but to move on to the next thing. The amount of time people waste dwelling on failures rather than putting that energy into another project, always amazes me. I have fun running all the Virgin businesses--so a setback is never a bad experience, just a learning curve." Richard Branson

25. "Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm." Winston Churchill

26. "Timing, perseverance, and ten years of trying will eventually make you look like an overnight success." Biz Stone, Twitter co-founder

27. "I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody." Bill Cosby

28. If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you always got." Mark Twain

29. "Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought." Albert Szent Gyorgui, Nobel Prize winner

30. "Being an entrepreneur is all about fear: fear of failing, fear of making the wrong decision, even fear of success. The difference between succeeding and failing is how you choose to confront your fears." Chris Savage

31. "One of the huge mistakes people make is that they try to force an interest on themselves. You don't choose your passions; your passions choose you." Jeff Bezos

32. "A man must be big enough to admit his mistakes, smart enough to profit from them, and strong enough to correct them." John C. Maxwell

33. "One doesn't discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time." Andre Gide

34. "Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful." Albert Schweitzer

35. "Each bruise is a lesson. Each lesson makes us better." Syrio Forel, a Game of Thrones character.

Published on: Oct 14, 2014