When Albert Einstein said, “I think and think for months and years. Ninety-nine times, the conclusion is false. The hundredth time I am right,” he was making a powerful statement about failure: It’s inevitable — but it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Failure is one of the most powerful motivators we can encounter. It pushes us to do better (after we get over the initial sting of the loss, of course). It encourages us to keep trying. And in a lot of cases, it can show us just how close we are to success. The trick is to think of it in a positive light: Failure is an agent of growth, not of defeat.
Entrepreneurs and innovators around the world have been using failure as motivation for centuries. Whether it’s something as simple as realizing that a single setback isn’t going to ruin your progress, or something more complex, like using the details of the failure to grow a success, it’s almost always a benefit. These 10 quotes show that while everyone experiences failure at some point — and sometimes repeatedly — it doesn’t have to be a roadblock. Failure can actually be a force of positivity in our lives, even a necessary step in achieving our dreams.
Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.
– Thomas Edison
Even if you fail at your ambitious thing, it’s very hard to fail completely.
– Larry Page
Failure and invention are inseparable twins.
– Jeff Bezos
I can accept failure. Everyone fails at something. But I can't accept not trying.
– Michael Jordan
With engineering, I view this year's failure as next year's opportunity to try it again. Failures are not something to be avoided. You want to have them happen as quickly as you can so you can make progress rapidly.
– Intel co-founder Gordon Moore
Failure is an event, not a person. Yesterday ended last night.
– Motivational speaker and business coach Zig Ziglar
In my experience, each failure contains the seeds of your next success — if you are willing to learn from it.
– Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen
There’s no such thing as failure. There are only results.
– Motivational speaker and business coach Tony Robbins
In a world that's changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.
– Mark Zuckerberg
If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough.
– Elon Musk
Photo credit: katatonia82/ iStock