12 Epic Failure Quotes You’ll Need To Succeed

woman dropped ice cream epic fail
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At QWERTYdelight, we’ve already given you three solid reasons why failing is an option.

So, if the twelve failure quotes in this article don’t convince you that failure can be a good thing, then we’ve failed you hard, dear reader.

(But that’s okay. We’ll keep trying.)


1. “Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.” — William Shakespeare

failure quotes william shakespear

There are plenty of failure quotes to extract from the iambic pentameters across Shakespeare’s thirty-seven plays.

In “Measure for Measure,” the cheeky and flamboyant bachelor, Lucio, speaks of treacherous doubts.

And it’s this overwhelming sense of doubt that makes you afraid to try.

But as you’ll soon find out, persistence will prevail.

2. “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” — Thomas Alva Edison

failure quotes thomas edison

Fun facts about Thomas Edison:

* He was half-deaf.
* His teachers said that he was too stupid to learn anything.
* He was fired from numerous jobs for being lazy and non-productive.
* He made over 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at creating the light bulb.

Here’s another fun fact:

* Thomas Edison is often lauded as the greatest inventor of all time.

Suck on that, bitches! says the ghost of Thomas Edison.

3. “The phoenix must burn to emerge.” — Janet Fitch

failure quotes janet fitch

F*ck yeah, Janet Fitch!

We don’t know who you are, but we want to thank you for tickling our Jean Grey fancy.

This is one badass failure quote for the history books. (Or is it for the comic books? IDK.)

PS. As of this sentence, we’ve found out that Janet Fitch is the #1 best-selling author of the novels “White Oleander” and “Paint It Black.” Booyakasha!

4. “There is nothing that teaches you more than regrouping after failure and moving on.” — Charles Bukowski

failure quotes charles bukowski

Charles Bukowski, the author of cult novels like “Post Office” and “Pulp,” was so good at failing that he had the words “Don’t Try” etched onto his gravestone.

But don’t get it twisted: Bukowski’s “don’t try” is a euphemism for “do it, damn you!”

As in, do it without second-guessing yourself.

5. “Failure is success in progress.” — Albert Einstein

failure quotes albert einstein

Ah, the most famous tongue in history besides Gene Simmons’ of the band KISS (although it appears that Miley Cyrus is giving Simmons’ tongue a run for its money these days?)

Albert Einstein won the Nobel Prize in 1921 for his work in the field of theoretical physics, including his mind-bending theory of relativity and the law of photoelectric effect.

This goes to show that even crazy geniuses can hit rock-bottom now and then.

But not only do they stick their tongues out at failure. They come up with brilliant failure quotes, too.

6. “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” — Samuel Beckett

failure quotes samuel beckett

Irish author Samuel Beckett penned the widely produced play, “Waiting for Godot,” back in 1953.

Since then, there have been so many productions of Godot around the world that it would be much easier to count the number of tattoos on Adam Levine’s body.

But despite Beckett’s wild success, there’s a reason behind this most brilliant of failure quotes: before achieving worldwide fame, he had been rejected by many book publishers, so much so that he came to believe that failure was an essential part of any artist’s work.1

7. “There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” — Paulo Coelho

failure quotes paulo coelho

If you grope inside of a backpacker’s travel bag, you might find (among other things) expired condoms, canned beans, a dreamcatcher and a copy of Paulo Coelho’s allegorical novel, “The Alchemist.”

QWERTYdelight is a big fan of Coelho’s riveting story about Santiago — a “dreamer” who travels far and wide in search of buried treasure.

As a matter of fact, “The Alchemist” is so f*cking good that it should be required reading for juniors in high school who have no idea who they are yet, or where they see themselves in the next five, ten, or even twenty years.

The above is one of many failure quotes that deal with fear.

Like we said in our article, “How to Squash Fear-mongering”: “It [fear] is the #1 killer of hopes and dreams. Therefore, it would behoove you to shoot it in the face.”

8. “We are all failures. At least the best of us are.” — J.M. Barrie

failure quotes jm barrie

Clap if you believe in failure as a stepping stone to success!

J.M. Barrie, author of the beloved play, “Peter Pan,” which was then adapted into an animated film by Disney, had his own set of challenges while writing the story of a boy who never grew up. (We saw this in Johnny Depp’s brilliant portrayal of Barrie in the film, “Finding Neverland.”)

This is one of those armor-clad failure quotes that shows up whenever Success wishes to strike you down with its javelin, so to speak.

9. “Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.” — Nelson Mandela

failure quotes nelson mandela

Nelson Mandela’s life-long pursuit of equal rights for Black South Africans before, during and after the Apartheid regime scored him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.

We’ll take a gander that Mandela’s failure quote may have been the inspiration behind the lyrics to the song, “Tubthumping,” by the 90s band, Chumbawamba.

You know the one: I get knocked down / But I get up again / You’re never gonna keep me down!

(And if you don’t know this song, check out the music video at the end of this article 😎 )

10. “From error to error, one discovers the entire truth.” — Sigmund Freud

failure quotes sigmund freud

Sigmund Freud was the father of psychoanalysis: the study of behaviors governed by the conscious and unconscious mind through the interpretation of dreams, analysis of repressed fears and techniques in “free association.”

And all of this while lying down on a comfy chaise lounge in a stuffy room in Vienna.

11. “Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.” — Winston Churchill

failure quotes winston churchill

Courage /ˈkərij/


The ability to do something that frightens you.

Enthusiasm /enˌTH(y)ooˌzēˌazəm/


Intense and eager enjoyment, interest, or approval.

Badassery /ˈbadˌasərē/


Behavior, characteristics, or actions regarded as formidably impressive.

Use in a sentence: An act of badassery is applying one of Sir Winston Churchill’s failure quotes to your life.

12. “Failure isn’t something to fear. It is something to understand.” — Unknown

failure quotes unknown

Similar to how we ended our article, “10 Inspiring Mental Health Quotes To Slay Another Day,” we wanted to offer you a failure quote to end all failure quotes:

“Failure isn’t something to fear. It is something to understand.”

By understanding failure, dear reader, you can make it your bitch.

And making things that threaten your livelihood your bitch is what QWERTYdelight’s all about.

(You may now enjoy “Tubthumping” by Chumbawamba.)

  1. Power, C. (2016, Jul 7) Samuel Beckett, the maestro of failure. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2016/jul/07/samuel-beckett-the-maestro-of-failure#:~:text=Fail%20better.%E2%80%9D,(1934)%2C%20sold%20disastrously.
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