Quotations About

You may depend on it, that it is more in your own power than in any one else’s to promote both your comfort and advancement.

Letter to Mr. Lane, on the Duties of a young officer, London, November 7, 1787

A man, as a general rule, owes very little to what he is born with — a man is what he makes of himself.

Interview with Bell published in How They Succeeded (1901) by Orison Swett Marden, Ch. 2.

Success is not forever and failure isn’t fatal.

Often (likely) mis-attributed to Winston Churchill as "Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts."
Posted in: Don Shula

Those who aim at faultless regularity will only produce mediocrity, and no one ever approaches perfection except by stealth, and unknown to themselves.

"Thoughts on Taste", Edinburgh Magazine, July 1819
Posted in: William Hazlitt

We didn’t lose the game; we just ran out of time.

Posted in: Vince Lombardi

‘Tis not in mortals to command success; but we’ll do more, Sempronius, we’ll deserve it.

Cato, Act I, Scene 2 (1712)
Posted in: Joseph Addison

The worst part of success is to try finding someone who is happy for you.

Posted in: Bette Midler

Diane Court: Nobody thinks it will work, do they?
Lloyd Dobler: No. You just described every great success story.

Posted in: Say Anything...

Great success is commoner than great abilities.


Whatever Zaphod’s qualities of mind might include – dash, bravado, conceit – he was mechanically inept and could easily blow the ship up with an extravagant gesture. Trillian had come to suspect that the main reason why he had had such a wild and successful life that he never really understood the significance of anything he did.

The penalty of success is to be bored by the people who used to snub you.

Posted in: Lady Nancy Astor

Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.

Posted in: Truman Capote

Natalie: Two guys have ascended five miles into the sky. They walked up a wall of ice, and are preparing to knock on the door of Heaven itself. There’s really no end to what we can do. You know what the trick is?
Dan: What?
Natalie: Get in the game.

The Quality of Mercy at 29K (season 1, episode 9)
Posted in: Sports Night

Master Fung: There are no lessons in winning, but a thousand in losing.

Posted in: Xiaolin Showdown

When anyone tells me I can’t do anything, I’m just not listening anymore.

As reported in the Huffington Post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/), July 27 2012

It’s all about the journey, not the outcome.

As reported in The Huffington Post, July 27 2012
Posted in: Carl Lewis

You have to believe in yourself when no one else does — that makes you a winner right there.

As reported in The Huffington Post, July 27 2012.
Posted in: Venus Williams

He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.

As reported in The Huffington Post, July 27 2012.
Posted in: Muhammad Ali

I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.

Nike Culture : The Sign of the Swoosh (1998)
Posted in: Michael Jordan

The most successful men in the end are those whose success is the result of steady accretion. That intellectuality is more vigorous that has attained its strength gradually. It is the man who carefully advances step by step, with his mind becoming wider and wider — and progressively better able to grasp any theme or situation — persevering in what he knows to be practical, and concentrating his thought upon it, who is bound to succeed in the greatest degree.

Interview with Bell published in How They Succeeded (1901) by Orison Swett Marden, Ch. 2.

Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.

As quoted in Sophia's Fire (2005) by Sango Mbella , p. 133

When people used to see Wake Forest on the schedule, they used a pen to mark down a ‘W.’ We’re at the point now where we at least make them use a pencil.

Posted in: Jim Grobe

There is only one success… to be able to spend your life in your own way.

Where the Blue Begins (1922)

You won’t lag behind, because you’ll have the speed.
You’ll pass the whole gang and you’ll soon take the lead.
Wherever you fly, you’ll be the best of the best.
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.

Except when you don’t
Because, sometimes, you won’t.

Oh, the Places You'll Go! (1990)
Posted in: Dr. Seuss

Typically, the hero of the fairy tale achieves a domestic, microcosmic triumph, and the hero of myth a world-historical, macrocosmic triumph. Whereas the former—the youngest or despised child who becomes the master of extraordinary powers—prevails over his personal oppressors, the latter brings back from his adventure the means for the regeneration of his society as a whole.

The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949)
Posted in: Joseph Campbell

I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.

Posted in: J.K. Rowling

Behind every successful man is a surprised woman.

As reported in Shadow of Heaven: The Life of Lester Pearson by John English
Posted in: Maryon Pearson

From the moment, as a boy of seventeen, I first began to pay my own way, my days were ordered by an inscrutable power which drove me hourly to my task. I was rarely allowed to look up or down, but always forward, toward that vague Success which we Americans love to glorify.

Adventures in Contentment

Tony Stark: You’re missing the point. There’s no throne. There is no version of this where you come out on top. Maybe your army comes, and maybe it’s too much for us, but it’s all on you. Because if we can’t protect the Earth, you can be damned well sure we’ll avenge it.

While some multimillionaires started in poverty, most did not. A study of the origins of 303 textile, railroad and steel executives of the 1870s showed that 90 percent came from middle- or upper-class families. The Horatio Alger stories of “rags to riches” were true for a few men, but mostly a myth, and a useful myth for control.

A People's History of the United States (1980)
Posted in: Howard Zinn

When the shadow of the sash appeared in the curtains it was between seven and eight o’clock and then I was in time again, hearing the watch. It was Grandfather’s and when Father gave it to me he said I give you the mausoleum of all hope and desire; it’s rather excruciatingly apt that you will use it to gain the reducto absurdum of all human experience which can fit your individual needs no better than it fitted his or his father’s. I give it to you not that you may remember time, but that you might forget it now and then for a moment and not spend all your breath trying to conquer it. Because no battle is ever won he said. They are not even fought. The field only reveals to man his own folly and despair, and victory is an illusion of philosophers and fools.

The Sound and the Fury (1929)
Posted in: William Faulkner

I decline to accept the end of man. It is easy enough to say that man is immortal because he will endure: that when the last ding-dong of doom has clanged and faded from the last worthless rock hanging tideless in the last red and dying evening, that even then there will still be one more sound: that of his puny inexhaustible voice, still talking. I refuse to accept this. I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance. The poet’s, the writer’s, duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past. The poet’s voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail.

Speech at the Nobel Prize Banquet after receiving the Nobel Prize for Literature (10 December 1950)
Posted in: William Faulkner

I’m a failed poet. Maybe every novelist wants to write poetry first, finds he can’t, and then tries the short story, which is the most demanding form after poetry. And, failing at that, only then does he take up novel writing.

Paris Review interview (1958)
Posted in: William Faulkner

We shall not fail or falter; we shall not weaken or tire. Neither the sudden shock of battle, nor the long-drawn trials of vigilance and exertion will wear us down. Give us the tools and we will finish the job.

BBC radio broadcast, February 9, 1941

Fail I alone, in words and deeds?
Why, all men strive and who succeeds?

"The Last Ride Together" (1859)
Posted in: Robert Browning

A minute’s success pays the failure of years.

"Apollo and the Fates" (1887)
Posted in: Robert Browning

Mal: We have done the impossible and that makes us mighty.

Posted in: Firefly

It is not in the power of any man to command success; but you have done more — you have deserved it.

Letter to Benedict Arnold

The first problem of any kind of even limited success is the unshakable conviction that you are getting away with something, and that any moment now they will discover you.

Address to the University of the Arts Class of 2012
Posted in: Neil Gaiman

Buffy: Hey! Look at us. We came up with a plan, a good plan.

It was close; but that’s the way it is in war. You win or lose, live or die — and the difference is just an eyelash.

To Gen. Richard Sutherland (17 March 1942)
This quote is attributed / unsourced.

We have reached a higher degree of comfort and security than ever existed before in the history of the world.

Inaugural address, March 4, 1929
Posted in: Herbert Hoover

Leela: Impressive. They’re busting mad rhymes with an 80% success rate.

Posted in: Futurama

There are two tragedies in life. One is to lose your heart’s desire. The other is to gain it.

Man and Superman (1903)

It takes three things to make it in this business: the tenacity of a bulldog, the hide of a rhinoceros and a good home to come home to.

Quoted in "The Advocate", 2 Feb 1999
Posted in: Stella Adler

There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.

As quoted in The Leadership Secrets of Colin Powell (2003) by Oren Harari
Posted in: Colin Powell

Michael: Just hold on, please! Okay, if we do lose/lose, neither of you gets what you want. Do you understand? You… you would both lose. Now I need to ask you, do you want to pursue a lose/lose negotiation?
Angela: Can we just skip to whatever number 5 is – win/win or whatever?
Michael: Win/win is number four and number five is win/win/win. The important difference here is with win/win/win, we all win. Me too. I win for having successfully mediated a conflict at work.

Conflict Resolution (season 2, episode 21)

Minion: We’ve had a lot of adventures together, you and I…
Megamind: Yes, Minion, we have.
Minion: I mean, most of them ended in horrible failure, but we won today, didn’t we, sir?
Megamind: Yes, Minion. We did it, thanks to you.
Minion: Code: We’re The Good Guys Now.
Megamind: Code: I Guess We Are.

Posted in: Megamind

Kirk: I don’t believe in the no-win scenario.