17 Inspirational Quotes That Will Change How You Think About Failure

Failure is trending right now. In the innovation economy, where 70-80% of venture-backed startups never deliver on their projected return on investment (and over a third burn right  through their investors’ money), “fail fast” is a popular slogan.

While failure at large corporations– due to speedy, under-informed decisions, “just-good-enough” deliverables, or missed quotas– could lead to a sacking, failure at a startup is, in fact, embraced. At the very least, it is expected. A startup, by nature of being innovative, is venturing into uncharted territory. It’s a life-sized experiment with endless uncertainties. If you wait to act until you have all the answers, you risk a competitor beating you to the punch.

Learning can be painful, especially when failure is involved. It's hard not to take it personally and berate yourself for falling short of the mark. But, what if we view failure as an opportunity? Failure informs us, giving us the intel to optimize—to reenter the game with a better product, a stronger strategy, and a clearer sense of where we need to go and what we need to get there. Failure cultivates humility, builds resiliency, and breeds fearlessness. These moments that challenge us yield the greatest opportunities for growth—as individuals and as companies.

Still, failure is only valuable when coupled with honest reflection and leveraged to steer toward success. These 17 inspirational quotes about failure will help you do just that. Marinate on these words of wisdom to build comfort with failure and learn to use it in your favor: [bctt tweet="17 #inspirationalquotes that will help you make the most out of #failure, by @zimmerbugg"]

1) You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing and falling over. - Richard Branson

 2) If you're not failing every now and again, it's a sign you're not doing anything very innovative. - Woody Allen

3) One who fears failure limits his activities. Failure is only the opportunity to more intelligently begin again. - Henry Ford

4) When you take risks, you learn that there will be times when you succeed and there will be times when you fail, and both are equally important. - Ellen DeGeneres

5) Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. -  Winston Churchill

6) I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work. -  Thomas Edison

7) If you’re not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.Reid Hoffman

8) Sometimes, by losing the battle, you find a new way to win the war.Donald Trump

9) Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning. - Bill Gates

10) There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing. -Aristotle

11) Success is not built on success. It's built on failure. It's built on frustration. Sometimes it's built on catastrophe. - Sumner Redstone

12) A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new. - Albert Einstein

13) Fail often so you can succeed sooner. - Tom Kelley

14) In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure. - Bill Cosby

15) Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up. - Thomas Edison

16) We are all failures—at least the best of us are. - J.M. Barrie

17) I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game's winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that's why I succeed. - Michael Jordan

So, go forth and fail. And learn from it. And probably fail many more times before you succeed. By shifting your understanding of failure and success from concrete to fluid concepts, you can come to see the great possibility that failure creates and realize that it isn't the end of a story. Instead, it is a step toward the fulfillment of your goals.

[bctt tweet="View success and failure as fluid concepts- leverage #failure toward success, says @zimmerbugg"]

Do you have a favorite inspirational quote about failure? Please share with us in the comments. Looking for some extra inspiration today? Check out this video featuring Ira Glass' musings on failure and the "gap" between our standards and execution: Why You Never Feel Like You're Good Enough (Hint: You Are).

Photo credit: yevkusa via Flickr cc