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Quotations about
Success & Failure



SUCCESS. Failure kicked to pieces by hard work. ~Noah Lott (George V. Hobart), The Silly Syclopedia, 1905


Happiness is from the happening of the hour, but success is more than that, success is the conquering of difficulties, the fresh resolve and renewed action for every failure.... success is more than a few dollars, a new suit, three meals, and a bed. ~Charles F. Raymond, "The Call to the Young," Just Be Glad, 1907


One fails forward toward success. ~Charles F. Kettering


The secret of success chiefly lies in the determination to succeed and the resolve that every repulse, every knock-down he receives in the battle, will only nerve him the more. ~Andrew Carnegie (1835–1919)


To have success, you can't let failure stop you. To have great success, you can't let success stop you. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com


One must be a god to be able to tell successes from failures without making a mistake. ~Anton Chekhov, 1888, translated by Constance Garnett, 1920


...if a man love the labor of any trade, apart from any question of success or fame, the gods have called him... ~Robert Louis Stevenson


Our business in this world is not to succeed, but to continue to fail, in good spirits. ~Robert Louis Stevenson


Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker... It is a temporary detour, not a dead-dead street. ~William Arthur Ward, Thoughts of a Christian Optimist, 1968


For every person who succeeds by holding course, ten succeed by daring to change course — and vice-versa. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com, 2019


There's no such thing as the ladder of success — it's a greased pole. ~Arnold H. Glasow (1905–1999)


[S]uccess is no second-hand thing. It is all right to give men the impulse, but the details they must work out themselves. ~Edward Mott Woolley, "Adventures in Business: The Merchant Who Needed a Press Agent," in The Saturday Evening Post, 1912 September 21st


The trick to succeeding is to stop thinking that there's a trick to everything. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com


The hard part is not to work for success but to wait for it to ripen. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1903, George Horace Lorimer, editor


In order to succeed you must fail, so that you know what not to do the next time. ~Anthony J. D'Angelo, The College Blue Book, 1995, collegiate-empowerment.org


Success is like reaching an important birthday and finding out you're exactly the same. All I feel is a responsibility to live up to it. And even, with luck, survive it. ~Audrey Hepburn (1929–1993)


True Success is that which makes
Building Stones of Old Mistakes.
~Arthur Guiterman, "Of Indomitability," A Poet's Proverbs, 1924


      Yes, and when success shines upon you be prepared to be hated, and when you leave the rut be prepared to have enemies, for the more energetic you are, the more you try to reform abuses, the more you will be abused, for this glad old world likes to wag along to glory without any disturbers.
      Be strong, and every knock is a boost. They say that the robins pick at the finest cherries, and if you are marked for scorn, for abuse, for envy or hate, shake hands with yourself if you are right and keep going on. ~Charles F. Raymond, "The Call to the Young," Just Be Glad, 1907


He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often and loved much; who has gained the respect of intelligent men and the love of little children; who has filled his niche and accomplished his task; who has left the world better than he found it, whether by an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul; who has never lacked appreciation of earth's beauty or failed to express it; who has always looked for the best in others and given them the best he had; whose life was an inspiration; whose memory a benediction. ~Bessie Anderson Stanley (1879–1952)  [Stanley was awarded the $250 grand prize in November 1905 from The George Livingston Richards Co., of Boston, for the best answer not exceeding 100 words to the question, "What constitutes success?" At the time, she was credited in publications as Mrs. A. J. Stanley. —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]


Strength, will power, determination and a pinch of you. That's the cocktail for success. ~Adarsh, @MrAdarshB, September 2010 entry to The Quote Garden create your own quote contest on Twitter, @quotegarden


Never give up trying, wherever you may be, and whatever may be the threatening ills which rise against you. What if gods and men and the whole world oppose you? There is always some place where the soul can be itself. There is no defeat except from within. There is really no insurmountable barrier save our own inherent weakness of purpose. There is no power either in heaven or earth that can successfully oppose the onward course of the perfectly determined soul. Success, as the world names it, is but a word, which, with the next breath, may signify defeat. But success as the soul knows it, is to have within the sustaining sense of right and an unselfish purpose. There is no failure except in no longer trying. Never let the eyes cease to fix themselves upon the far-off star till death shall have darkened the light within them. For so to live and so to die is, after all, the only success, whatever the world may call it. ~Robert Burns Wilson, 1887


Try to discover
The road to success
And you'll seek but never find,
But blaze your own path
And the road to success
Will trail right behind.
~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com


In the matter of achieving success consistency is a paste jewel compared with persistency. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1903, George Horace Lorimer, editor


Genius is only the power of making continuous efforts. The line between failure and success is so fine that we scarcely know when we pass it: so fine that we are often on the line and do not know it. How many a man has thrown up his hands at a time when a little more effort, a little more patience, would have achieved success. As the time goes clear out, so it comes clear in. In business, sometimes, prospects may seem darkest when really they are on the turn. A little more persistence, a little more effort, and what seemed hopeless failure may turn to glorious success. There is no failure except in no longer trying. There is no defeat except from within, no really insurmountable barrier save our own inherent weakness of purpose. ~Elbert Hubbard, 1895


I dread success. To have succeeded is to have finished one's business on earth, like the male spider, who is killed by the female the moment he has succeeded in his courtship. I like a state of continual becoming, with a goal in front and not behind. ~Bernard Shaw, 1896


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. ~William Arthur Ward, Thoughts of a Christian Optimist, 1968


Riches are well, education is excellent, but... if you are alert, if you are active, if you are faithful, if you cultivate that magnetism, that indefinable something that makes for success, you can achieve, for your success depends on yourself. ~Charles F. Raymond, "The Call to the Young," Just Be Glad, 1907


People who consult their moods, their preferences, or their ease never make a great success in life. It is the man who gets a firm grip on himself and forces himself to do the thing that will ultimately be best for him, who succeeds. ~Orison Swett Marden, paraphrased by Dan P. Gibson, "Doing the Hardest Thing First," 1910


Failure is not frailty.
Success never guarantees.
~Terri Guillemets


In spite of spelling reform, success still ends in $$. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1906, George Horace Lorimer, editor


The greatest of all advantages with which an ambitious man can begin life is that of being poor. The man who wishes to make millions must not be born with a silver spoon in his mouth. He must feel that it is sink or swim with him... If in addition to being poor himself he has witnessed his parents' struggle with adversity, and resolves to drive the wolf from the door of the family, he has the strongest of all incentives which lead to success. No ambition of a merely personal nature can be compared with this. Responsibility thrown upon a young poor man, that is the thing to bring out what is in him. Such is the raw material out of which great captains of industry are made. ~Andrew Carnegie (1835–1919)  [a little altered —tg]


When we fail our pride supports us; when we succeed it frequently betrays us. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1903, George Horace Lorimer, editor


Failure doesn't mean you are a failure… it does mean you haven't succeeded yet. ~Robert H. Schuller


It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed. ~Napoleon Hill


Success is a shell — don't let it harden around your ego.
Failure is a shell — don't let it harden around your ambition.
~Terri Guillemets


Ability is man's capital; success is the interest that capital earns. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1906, George Horace Lorimer, editor


The two hardest things to handle in life are failure and success. ~Author unknown


Men buy Success by giving up a Host
Of Things they Want for what they Want the Most.
~Arthur Guiterman, "Of Action," A Poet's Proverbs, 1924


You have failed, and who has not? You have risen, and, lifting the blind, have greeted the sun and said, "This will be my best day, this day will count." ~Charles F. Raymond, "The Call to the Young," Just Be Glad, 1907


Live so to get the approbation of your Other Self, and success if yours. But pray that success will not come any faster than you are able to endure it. ~Elbert Hubbard


The requisites for success are the same in all classes of business: good judgment, application, diplomacy, executive ability, nerve, push, sticktoitiveness, integrity, a thick skin, and a pleasant smile. ~C.A. Morse, "President's Address," Twentieth Annual Convention of the American Railway Engineering Association, 1919, wording slightly altered  [altered —tg]


Don't make a tragedy of a simple failure. Study your capabilities first, and if you have overrated their strength, try again, going more slowly. ~Minna Thomas Antrim (1861–1950), Don'ts for Girls, 1902


Failure is the first rung on the ladder of success… watch an infant learn to walk. ~William Arthur Ward (1921–1994)


If by a failure you mean an attempt — yes, you're right. ~Rudolf Besier, The Barretts of Wimpole Street: A Comedy in Three Acts, 1930 (Elizabeth Barrett to Robert Browning)


Material success is always tempered by the recollection that there was some kind of happiness that was supposed to come with it. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com


One way to measure your success is by the earnestness with which your competitors lie about you. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, George Horace Lorimer, editor, as reprinted in Poor Richard Jr's Almanack, 1906


Can you tell me, in a world that is flagrant with the failures of civilization, what there is particularly immortal about yours? ~Gilbert K. Chesterton, The Napoleon of Notting Hill, 1904


In a world where it is necessary to succeed, perhaps only we women know more deeply that success can be a quiet and hidden thing. ~Pam Brown, To a Very Special Daughter, 1991, helenexley.com


There are defeats more triumphant than victories. ~Michel de Montaigne, translated by Charles Cotton


What will matter is not your success but your significance...
~Michael Josephson, from "What Will Matter" (poem), 2003, whatwillmatter.com


Among the things that you, and you alone, are the absolute and final judge of is whether or not you are a success. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com


Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go. ~William Feather, as quoted in Forbes, 1976


Of course he loved to waste time — but in his own way. He gloated on the irresponsible vacancy of those evening hours, when there was nothing to be done. He lay very still, hardly even thinking, just feeling life go by... Here, where life beat so much more thickly and closely, was the place to be. Though he had solved nothing, yet he seemed closer to the heart of the mystery. Entranced, he felt time flowing on toward him, endless in sweep and fulness. There is only one success, he said to himself — to be able to spend your life in your own way, and not to give others absurd maddening claims upon it. Youth, youth is the only wealth, for youth has Time in its purse! ~Christopher Morley, Where the Blue Begins, 1922


If the day and the night are such that you greet them with joy, and life emits a fragrance like flowers and sweet-scented herbs, is more elastic, more starry, more immortal, — that is your success. ~Henry David Thoreau


A failure is a man who has blundered, but is not able to cash in the experience. ~Elbert Hubbard


How do you achieve success? Well, for one thing, you don't define it before you achieve it. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com


Conceit is the quicksand of success. ~Arnold H. Glasow (1905–1999)


Passion is purpose—
Success is proof.
~Terri Guillemets


The trick to getting ahead is to give it the same effort you give to getting even. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com


Time is not an element of success; it is space for earning it. Some men wouldn't earn success if they had eternity for their office hours. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1904, George Horace Lorimer, editor


Some people succeed because they are destined to, but most people succeed because they are determined to. ~Author unknown, 1960s


In the end, success is not about who you know, it's about you know who. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com


Some success is born of conceit, and much conceit is born of success. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1904, George Horace Lorimer, editor


Just once it might be instructive to pretend you're accepting an award for failure, just to see who you would thank. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com


A success seems larger when a failure is used for the measuring-stick. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1903, George Horace Lorimer, editor


It is wise to keep in mind that no success or failure is necessarily final. ~Author unknown, 1970s


To find someone who will love you through success and failure is to discover how little life has to do with either. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com


Ah, listen, I'll say something I shouldn't say because no one will believe it, but success isn't a pleasure for me. I'm glad to be able to live from what I write, so I have to put up with the popular and critical side of success. But I was happier as a man when I was unknown. Much happier. ~Julio Cortázar (1914–1984), interview with Jason Weiss, "The Art of Fiction No. 83," The Paris Review, Fall 1984


When a man's success makes him unhappy he has failed. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1906, George Horace Lorimer, editor


...but understandable in onlooking citizens only as a symptom of the moral flabbiness born of the exclusive worship of the bitch-goddess SUCCESS. That — with the squalid cash interpretation put on the word success — is our national disease. ~William James, letter to H.G. Wells, 1906


There is no success but your own success. ~Terri Guillemets


The road to success is wherever people need another road. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com





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