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'To Err Is Human': 20 Quotes About Second Chances

Second chances don’t always come easy. Whether we’re seeking a redo of our own actions or giving a loved one another chance, starting over is often deeply intertwined with strong emotions that make the potential for forgiveness and perseverance more complex.

Yet second chances are by nature hopeful, usually granted on the presumption that past mistakes can educate us on how to head into a brighter future. Under the right circumstances and with a bit of self-introspection, an opportunity to start anew can produce relationships that are stronger than ever before, and accomplishments we could never have achieved without learning from the past. Here are 20 modicums of wisdom to keep in mind about the benefits of giving it another go.

This is what life is about. We do not get redos, but we do get second chances.
— Jeffrey Fry, author

Take forgiveness slowly. Don't blame yourself for being slow. Peace will come.
— Yoko Ono

Sometimes things make more sense the second time around. People change, you change and the universe changes, if we keep ourselves confined to first chances only, we will truly miss out on some of the most beautiful things in life.
— Rania Naim, author and blogger

A man deserves a second chance, but keep an eye on him.
— John Wayne

Success lies in one’s ability to learn from mistakes.
— Dr. Prem Jagaysi, speaker and author

If you have made mistakes, even serious mistakes, you may have a fresh start from any moment you choose, for this thing we call ‘failure’ is not the falling down, but the staying down.
— Mary Pickford, actress

Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat.
— F. Scott Fitzgerald

Everyone has a past. I have mine, you have yours, and we have ours. No matter what it takes, I will prove to you that our past, no matter how hurtful, didn’t ruin the future we could have.
— Melissa Foster, author

I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.
— Maya Angelou

Second chances do come your way. Like trains, they arrive and depart regularly. Recognizing the ones that matter is the trick.
— Jill. A Davis, author

Opportunities multiply as they are seized.
— Sun Tzu

A second chance doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. In many ways, it is the more difficult thing. Because a second chance means that you have to try harder. You must rise to the challenge without the blind optimism of ignorance.
— Ling Ma, author

The only difference between the saint and the sinner is that every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.
— Oscar Wilde

Every second a seeker can start over, for his life’s mistakes are initial drafts and not the final version.
— Sri Chinmoy, spiritual teacher

Let your hook be always cast; in the pool where you least expect it, there will be a fish.
— Ovid

Until we have seen someone’s darkness we don’t really know who they are. Until we have forgiven someone’s darkness, we don’t really know what love is.
— Marianne Williamson

If love finds you again, don’t fight it. Don’t let grief hold you back. Love is a risk. There are no guarantees. But, in the end, it is always, always worth it.
— J.L. Berg, author

To err is human, to forgive, divine.
— Alexander Pope, poet

To take that second chance, we need to notice where we are and be open to the possibility of growing.
— Holly Elissa Bruno, author and speaker

I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice.
— Abraham Lincoln

Photo credit: American Stock via Getty Images

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About the Author
Bennett Kleinman
Bennett is a staff writer at Optimism as well as a freelance comedy writer. He's based in New York City.
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