Quotations about   success

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Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.

Winston Churchill (1874-1965) British statesman and author
(Spurious)
    (Source)

Variant: "Success is never final and failure never fatal. It’s courage that counts."

1938 Bud AdNot found in Churchill's canon. There are precursors to elements of this quotation, but the earliest version substantially like it is found in a 1938 Budweiser beer print advertisement:

Men with the spirit of youth pioneered our America ... men with vision and sturdy confidence. They found contentment in the thrill of action, knowing that success was never final and failure never fatal. It was courage that counted. Isn’t opportunity in America today greater than it was in the days of our grateful forefathers?

More discussion about this quotation:
Also attributed to Abraham Lincoln and John Wooden. Preacher Robert Schuller used Success is Never Ending, Failure is Never Final as the title of a 1990 book.
Added on 19-May-22 | Last updated 19-May-22
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There are two tragedies in life. One is not to get your heart’s desire. The other is to get it.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Man and Superman, Act 4 [Mendoza] (1903)
    (Source)

See Wilde, eleven years earlier. More discussion quote: There Are Only Two Tragedies. One Is Not Getting What One Wants, and the Other Is Getting It – Quote Investigator.
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In this world there are only two tragedies. One is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
Lady Windermere’s Fan, Act 3 [Dumby] (1892)
    (Source)

More discussion of this quote: There Are Only Two Tragedies. One Is Not Getting What One Wants, and the Other Is Getting It – Quote Investigator
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Popular success is a palace built for a writer by publishers, journalists, admirers and professional reputation makers, in which a silent army of termites, rats, dry rot and death-watch beetles are tunnelling away, till, at the very moment of completion, it is ready to fall down. The one hope for a writer is that although his enemies are often unseen they are seldom unheard. He must listen for the death-watch, listen for the faint toc-toc, the critic’s truth sharpened by envy, the embarrassed praise of a sincere friend, the silence of gifted contemporaries, the implications of the don in the manger, the visitor in the small hours. He must dismiss the builders and contractors, elude the fans with an assumed name and dark glasses, force his way off the moving staircase, subject every thing he writes to a supreme critical court. Would it amuse Horace or Milton or Swift or Leopardi? Could it be read to Flaubert? Would it be chosen by the Infallible Worm, by the discriminating palates of the dead?

Cyril Connolly (1903-1974) English intellectual, literary critic and writer.
Enemies of Promise, Part 2, ch. 15 “The Slimy Mallows” (1938)
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Life is like fording a river, stepping from one slippery stone to another, and you must rejoice every time you don’t lose your balance, and learn to laugh at all the times you do.

Merle Shain (1935-1989) Canadian journalist and author
(Attributed)
Added on 18-Mar-22 | Last updated 18-Mar-22
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Power is like money. You can usually get it if you’re competent and it’s the only thing you want in life.

Roger Zelazny (1937-1995) American writer
Trumps of Doom, ch. 3 [Merlin] (1985)
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Added on 9-Mar-22 | Last updated 9-Mar-22
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I personally measure success in terms of the contributions an individual makes to her or his fellow human beings.

Margaret Mead (1901-1978) American anthropologist
Some Personal Views (1979)
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Added on 25-Feb-22 | Last updated 25-Feb-22
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The man who has done his level best, and who is conscious that he has done his best, is a success.

Bertie Charles (B. C.) Forbes (1880-1954) American publisher
Forbes Epigrams (1922)
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Added on 23-Feb-22 | Last updated 23-Feb-22
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Success makes men rigid and they tend to exalt stability over all the other virtues; tired of the effort of willing they become fanatics about conservatism.

Lippmann - Success makes men rigid exalt stability fanatics about conservatism - wist.info quote

Walter Lippmann (1889-1974) American journalist and author
A Preface to Politics, ch. 1 (1914)
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Added on 20-Dec-21 | Last updated 20-Dec-21
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When you get right down to it, one of the most important tasks of a manager is to eliminate his people’s excuse for failure.

Robert Townsend
Robert Townsend (1920-1998) American business executive and author
Further Up the Organization (1984)
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As in the Olympic Games it is not the most attractive and the strongest who are crowned, but those who compete (since it is from this group that winners come), so in life it is those who act rightly who will attain what is noble and good.

[ὥσπερ δ᾽ Ὀλυμπίασιν οὐχ οἱ κάλλιστοι καὶ ἰσχυρότατοι στεφανοῦνται ἀλλ᾽ οἱ ἀγωνιζόμενοι (τούτων γάρ τινες νικῶσιν), οὕτω καὶ τῶν ἐν τῷ βίῳ καλῶν κἀγαθῶν οἱ πράττοντες ὀρθῶς ἐπήβολοι γίνονται.]

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
Nicomachean Ethics [Ἠθικὰ Νικομάχεια], Book 1, ch. 9 (1.9, 1099a.4) (c. 325 BC) [tr. Crisp (2000)]
    (Source)

(Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:

And as at the Olympic games it is not the finest and strongest men who are crowned, but they who enter the lists, for out of these the prize-men are selected; so too in life, of the honourable and the good, it is they who act who rightly win the prizes.
[tr. Chase (1847), ch. 6]

For as at the Olympic games it is not the fairest and the strongest who are crowned, but they that run -- for some of these it is that win the victory -- so too, among the noble and good in life, it is they that act rightly who become masters of life's prize.
[tr. Williams (1869)]

As in the Olympian games it is not the most beautiful and strongest persons who receive the crown, but they who actually enter the lists as combatants -- for it is some of these who become victors -- so it is they who act rightly that attain what is noble and good in life.
[tr. Welldon (1892), ch. 9]

And as at the Olympic games it is not the fairest and strongest who receive the crown, but those who contend (for among these are the victors), so in life, too, the winners are those who not only have all the excellences, but manifest these in deed.
[tr. Peters (1893)]

And as in the Olympic Games it is not the most beautiful and the strongest that are crowned but those who compete (for it is some of these that are victorious), so those who act win, and rightly win, the noble and good things in life.
[tr. Ross (1908)]

And just as at the Olympic games the wreaths of victory are not bestowed upon the handsomest and strongest persons present, but on men who enter for the competitions -- since it is among these that the winners are found, -- so it is those who act rightly who carry off the prizes and good things of life.
[tr. Rackham (1934), ch. 8, sec. 9]

And just as in the Olympic Games it is not the noblest and strongest who get the victory crown but the competitors (since it is among these that the ones who win are found), so also among the noble and good aspects of life it is those who act correctly who win the prizes.
[tr. Reeve (1948)]

And as at the Olympic Games it is not the most beautiful or the strongest who are crowned but those who compete (for it is some of these who become victors), so in life it is those who act rightly who become the winners of good and noble things.
[tr. Apostle (1975), ch. 9]

Just as at the Olympic Games it is not the best-looking or the strongest men present that are crowned with wreaths, but the competitors (because it is from them that the winners come), so it is those who act that rightly win the honors and rewards in life.
[tr. Thomson/Tredennick (1976)]

For just as it is not the noblest and strongest who are crowned with the victory wreath at the Olympic Games but rather the competitors (for it is certain of these who win), so also it is those who act correctly who attain the noble and good things in life.
[tr. Bartlett/Collins (2011)]

Added on 26-Oct-21 | Last updated 14-Dec-21
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To get home you had to end the war. To end the war was the reason you fought it. The only reason.

Paul Fussell (1924-2012) American cultural and literary historian, author, academic
Wartime: Understanding and Behavior in the Second World War, ch. 11 (1989)
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Added on 30-Sep-21 | Last updated 30-Sep-21
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He is free to make the wrong choice, but not free to succeed with it. He is free to evade reality, he is free to unfocus his mind and stumble blindly down any road he pleases, but not free to avoid the abyss he refuses to see. Knowledge, for any conscious organism, is the means of survival; to a living consciousness, every “is” implies an “ought.” Man is free to choose not to be conscious, but not free to escape the penalty of unconsciousness: destruction. Man is the only living species that has the power to act as his own destroyer — and that is the way he has acted through most of his history.

Ayn Rand (1905-1982) Russian-American writer, philosopher
“The Objectivist Ethics,” University of Wisconsin Symposium on “Ethics in Our Time” (9 Feb 1961)
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Possibly the source of the attributed-but-unlocated Rand quotation "You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality." See also Stamp. More discussion about this quotation and related ones here.
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Now, every time I witness a strong person, I want to know: What darkness did you conquer in your story? Mountains do not rise without earthquakes.

Katherine MacKennett
Katherine MacKenett (b. c. 1984) American writer, editor
(Attributed)
Added on 27-Jul-21 | Last updated 27-Jul-21
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The way you win as a creative person is to learn to love the work and not the applause.

Bob Dylan (b. 1941) American singer, songwriter
(Misattributed)

Attributed to Dylan, but it actually appears to be from an article by Brian Herzog, "Don't Write for Applause" (28 May 2015), which touched on Dylan.
Added on 20-Jul-21 | Last updated 20-Jul-21
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Evil always wins through the strength of its splendid dupes.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
Eugenics and Other Evils, ch. 1 (1922)
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The reward of art is not fame or success but intoxication: that is why so many bad artists are unable to give it up.

Cyril Connolly (1903-1974) English intellectual, literary critic and writer.
The Unquiet Grave (1944)
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You ask me how my farm can pay,
Since little it will bear;
It pays me thus — ‘Tis far away
And you are never there.

[Quid mini reddat ager quaeris, Line, Nomentanus?
Hoc mini reddit ager: te, Line, non video.]

Martial (AD c.39-c.103) Spanish Roman poet, satirist, epigrammatist [Marcus Valerius Martialis]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 2, epigram 38 (2.38) [tr. Pott & Wright (1921)]
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Original Latin. Alternate translations:

What my farm yields me, doest thou urge to know?
This, that I see not thee, when there I go.
[tr. Anon. (1695)]

Do you ask what profit my Nomentan estate brings me, Linus? My estate brings me this profit, that I do not see you, Linus.
[tr. Bohn's Classical (1860)]

Ask you what my Nomentane fields
Can yield me, Linus, bleak and few?
For me my farm this, Linus, yields;--
That, when I'm there, I'm rid of you.
[tr. Webb (1879)]

You ask what I grow on my Sabine estate.
A reliable answer is due.
I grow on that soil --
Far from urban turmoil --
Very happy at not seeing you.
[tr. Nixon (1911)]

Do you ask, Linus, what my Nomentan farm returns me? This my land returns me: I don't see you, Linus.
[tr. Ker (1919)]

Linus, you mock my distant farm,
And ask what good it is to me?
Well, it has got at least one charm --
When there, from Linus I am free!
[tr. Duff (1929)]

You ask what my estate at Nomentum produces for me? It produces this: that I don't see you, Linus.
[tr. Williams (2003)]

You ask me why I like the country air.
I never meet you there.
[tr. Kennelly (2004), "The Reason"]

What, Linus, can my farm be minus
When it successfully lacks Linus?
[tr. Wills (2007)]

What yield does my Nomentan farmstead bear?
Linus, I don’t see you when I am there.
[tr. McLean (2014)]

You're wondering what the yield is from my farm at Nomentum, Linus? Here's the yield form my farm: Linus, I don't have to look at you.
[tr. Nisbet (2015)]

Linus, dost ask what my field yields to me?
Even this profit, that I ne'er see thee.
[tr. Fletcher]

Ask you what my Nomentane field brings me?
This, Linus, 'mongst the rest, I ne'er see thee.
[tr. Wright]

You wonder if my farm pays me its share?
It pays me this: I do not see you there.
[tr. Oliver]

You ask me why I love fresh country air?
You’re not befouling it there.
[tr. Burch]

You ask me why I choose to live elsewhere? You're not there.
[tr. Burch]

Added on 2-Jul-21 | Last updated 4-Mar-22
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By virtue of exchange, one man’s prosperity is beneficial to all others.

Frédéric Bastiat (1801-1850) French philosopher, economist, politician
Harmonies of Political Economy, ch. 4, para. 110 (1850)
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Alternate translation: "In consequence of Exchange, the gain of each is the gain of all." [tr. Stirling]
Added on 1-Jul-21 | Last updated 1-Jul-21
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Under normal circumstances, the name a human being bears is no more than the band is to a cigar: a means of identification, a superficial, almost unimportant thing that is only loosely related to the real subject, the true ego. In the event of a success the name begins to swell, so to say. It loosens itself from the human being that bears it and becomes a power in itself, a force, an independent thing, an article of commerce, a capital asset; and psychologically again with strong reaction it becomes a force which tends to influence, to dominate, to transform the person who bears it.

Stefan Zweig (1881-1942) Austrian novelist, playwright, journalist, biographer
The World of Yesterday [Die Welt von Gestern], ch. 13 (1942)
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Added on 17-Jun-21 | Last updated 22-Jun-21
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If you wish to succeed in life, make perseverance your bosom friend, experience your wise counselor, caution your elder brother, and hope your guardian genius.

Joseph Addison (1672-1719) English essayist, poet, statesman
(Attributed)

Broadly attributed to Addison, but possibly a 19th Century creation. The earliest found appearance is in 1854, and the earliest attribution to Addison in in 1862.
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NOBODY KNOWS ANYTHING. Not one person in the entire motion picture field knows for a certainty what’s going to work. Every time out it’s a guess — and, if you’re lucky, an educated one.

William Goldman (1931-2018) American screenwriter, novelist
Adventures in the Screen Trade, ch. 1 (1983)
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Added on 25-May-21 | Last updated 25-May-21
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To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition, to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
(Misattributed)

This is regularly attributed to Emerson, but has not been found in his work. The original appears to be a contest essay written by Bessie A. Stanley of Lincoln, Nebraska in 1905:

He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often and loved much; who has gained the respect of intelligent men and the love of little children; who has filled his niche and accomplished his task; who has left the world better than he found it, whether by an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul; who has never lacked appreciation of earth’s beauty or failed to express it; who has always looked for the best in others and given the best he had; whose life was an inspiration; whose memory a benediction.

In 1951, Albert E. Wiggam, a newspaper columnist, wrote this similar passage, claiming it was an abridged version of something Emerson wrote:

To laugh often and love much; to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children; to earn the approbation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty. To find the best in others; to give one’s self; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exaltation; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived -- this is to have succeeded.

Variations of both quotations exist, but Wiggam seems to be the source of the Emerson reference. This was later cemented by Ann Landers producing the variation at the top of this post, citing Emerson but not Wiggam. She also at other times attributed it to Harry Emerson Fosdick and Bessie A. Stanley.

More information here:
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Perseverance is a great element of success. If you only knock long enough and loud enough at the gate, you are sure to wake up somebody.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) American poet
“Table-Talk”
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There is no such thing as a self-made man. Every businessman has used the vast American infrastructure, which the taxpayers paid for, to make his money. He did not make his money alone.

George Lakoff (b. 1941) American cognitive linguist and philosopher
Don’t Think of an Elephant! (2004)
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I don’t know whether my life has been a success or a failure But not having any anxiety about becoming one instead of the other, and just taking things as they come along, I’ve had a lot of extra time to enjoy life.

Arthur "Harpo" Marx (1888-1964) American comedian, actor, mime, musician [b. Adolph Marx]
Harpo Speaks!, ch. 1, opening words (1961) [with Rowland Barber]
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Added on 19-Mar-21 | Last updated 19-Mar-21
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The central conservative truth is that it is culture, not politics, that determines the success of a society. The central liberal truth is that politics can change a culture and save it from itself.

Daniel Patrick Moynihan (1927-2003) American politician, diplomat, sociologist
Godkin Lecture, Harvard (1985)
    (Source)

As reprinted in his book, Family and Nation (1986).
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The men who succeed best in public life are those who take the risk of standing by their own convictions.

James A. Garfield (1831-1881) US President (1881), lawyer, lay preacher, educator
“Gustave Schleicher,” Speech, House of Representatives (17 Feb 1879)
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As a cause becomes more and more successful, the ideas of the people engaged in it are bound to change.

Margaret Sanger (1879-1966) American birth control activist, sex educator, nurse
Margaret Sanger: An Autobiography, ch. 32 (1938)
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Dear George:
Remember, no man is a failure who has friends.
Thanks for the wings!
Love, Clarence.

Frank Capra 1897-1991) Italian-American film director, producer, writer [b. Francesco Rosario Capra]
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) [with Frances Goodrich, Albert Hackett]
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Added on 18-Dec-20 | Last updated 18-Dec-20
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I, too, could be successful, if I had money, talent, luck, charm, confidence, and plenty of help.

Ashleigh Brilliant (b. 1933) Anglo-American writer, epigramist, cartoonist
Pot-Shots, #3414
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Ah, woe is me, through all my days
Wisdom and wealth I both have got,
And fame and name and great men’s praise;
But Love, ah, Love! I have it not.

H. C. Bunner (1855-1896) American novelist and poet [Henry Cuyler Bunner]
“The Way to Arcady” (1892)
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Added on 18-Nov-20 | Last updated 18-Nov-20
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In truth, prosperity tries the souls of even the wise; how then should men of depraved character like these make a moderate use of victory?

[Quippe secundae res sapientium animos fatigant, ne illi corruptis moribus victoriae temperarent.]

Sallust (c. 86-35 BC) Roman historian and politician [Gaius Sallustius Crispus]
Bellum Catilinae [The War of Cateline; The Conspiracy of Catiline], ch. 11, sent. 8 [tr. Rolfe (1931)]
    (Source)

Alt. trans.:
  • "A series of prosperity is often too much even for the wisest and best disposed: that men corrupted should make a temperate use of their victory could not be expected." [tr. Murphy (1807)]
  • "For success unhinges the minds even of wise men; how then should they who were so depraved use their victory with moderation?" [tr. Rose (1831)]
  • "For success tries the minds of wise men, much less could they, when their morals were corrupted, use their victory with moderation." [Source (1841)]
  • "Success unsettles the principles even of the wise, and scarcely would those of debauched habits use victory with moderation." [tr. Watson (1867)]
  • "Since even the wise have their temper tried by prosperity, much less could men of this abandoned character use their success with moderation." [tr. Pollard (1882)]
  • "Successful situations overwhelm the minds even of the wise; still less wouild those men of corrupt morals moderate their victory." [tr. Woodman (2007)]
Added on 17-Nov-20 | Last updated 17-Nov-20
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But if I am to die before my time, I count that a gain. When anyone lives as I do, surrounded by evils, how can he not carry off gain by dying?

[εἰ δὲ τοῦ χρόνου
πρόσθεν θανοῦμαι, κέρδος αὔτ᾽ ἐγὼ λέγω.
ὅστις γὰρ ἐν πολλοῖσιν ὡς ἐγὼ κακοῖς
ζῇ, πῶς ὅδ᾽ Οὐχὶ κατθανὼν κέρδος φέρει]

Sophocles (496-406 BC) Greek tragic playwright
Antigone, l. 460 ff [Antigone] (441 BC) [tr. Jebb (1891)]
    (Source)

Alt. trans.:

But if I am to die before my time, I count that a gain: for when any one lives, as I do, compassed about with evils, can such an one find aught but gain in death?
[tr. Jebb (1917)]

And if my time is shortened, this to me
Is gain indeed. For whoso lives, as I live,
Beset with many sorrows, how does he
Not win by dying?
[tr. Donaldson (1848)]

If death
Is thereby hastened, I shall count it gain
For death is gain to him whose life, like mine,
Is full of misery.
[tr. Storr (1859)]

And now, if I fall
A little sooner, 'tis the thing I wish.
To thou, who live in misery like me,
Believe me, King, 'tis happiness to die.
[tr. Werner (1892)]

But if I die young, all the better:
People who live in misery like mine
Are better dead.
[tr. Woodruff (2001)]

I knew that my death was imminent, of course I did, and even if it came sooner, I would still think it a good thing because when one lives in such a dreadful misery why should he not think death to be a good thing?
[tr. Theodoridis (2004)]

And if I have to die
before my time, well, I count that a gain.
When someone has to live the way I do,
surrounded by so many evil things,
how can she fail to find a benefit
in death?
[tr. Johnston (2005), l. 521ff]

If I die
before my time, I say it is a gain.
Who lives in sorrows many as are mine
how shall he not be glad to gain his death?
[tr. Wyckoff]

But if
I shall die before my time, I declare it a profit,
for whoever lives beset, as I do, by many things evil,
how does he not gain profit by dying?
[tr. Tyrrell/Bennett]
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Let me tell you the secret of such so-called successes as there have been in my life, and here I believe I give you really good advice. It was to burn my boats and demolish my bridges behind me. Then one loses no time in looking behind, when one should have quite enough to do in looking ahead — then there is no chance for you or your men but forward. You have to do or die!

Fridtjof Nansen (1861-1930) Norwegian explorer, scientist, diplomat, humanitarian
Speech, St Andrews University (3 Nov 1926)
    (Source)

Translated in his Adventure, and Other Papers (1927).
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Back of every mistaken venture and defeat is the laughter of wisdom, if you listen. We go forward by failure. Every blunder behind us is giving a cheer for us and only those who are willing to fail shall taste the dangers and splendors of life. To be a good loser is to learn how to win. The real coward is he who sees no glory in failure.

Carl Sandburg (1878-1967) American poet, biographer
Incidentals (1904)
Added on 19-Oct-20 | Last updated 19-Oct-20
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Success covers a multitude of blunders, and the want of it hides the greatest gallantry and good conduct.

Horatio Nelson (1758-1805) British admiral
Letter to Andrew Hamond (1797)
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Often misattributed to George Bernard Shaw.
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The test of a democracy is not the magnificence of buildings or the speed of automobiles or the efficiency of air transportation, but rather the care given to the welfare of all the people.

Helen Keller (1880-1968) American author and lecturer
“Try Democracy,” The Home Magazine, Vol. 11, # 4 (Apr 1935)
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To find someone who will love you through success and failure is to discover how little life has to do with either.

Robert Brault (b. c. 1945) American aphorist, programmer
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Sep-20 | Last updated 1-Sep-20
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The essence of success is that it is never necessary to think of a new idea oneself. It is far better to wait until somebody else does it, and then to copy him in every detail, except his mistakes.

Aubrey Menen (1912-1989) English writer
The Abode of Love, Part 3, “The Random Wooings” (1956)
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I find it very difficult to enthuse

Over the current news.

Just when you think that at least the outlook is so black that it can grow no blacker, it worsens,

And that is why I do not like the news, because there has never been an era when so many things were going so right for so many of the wrong persons.

Ogden Nash (1902-1971) American poet
“Everybody Tells Me Everything,” The Face Is Familiar (1940)
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It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it.

Douglas MacArthur (1880-1964) American general
Speech, Republican National Convention, Chicago (7 Jul 1952)
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Even a stopped clock is right twice every day. After some years, it can boast of a long series of successes.

[Die still stehende Uhr, die täglich zwei Mal die richtige Zeit angezeigt hat, blickt nach Jahren auf eine lange Reihe von Erfolgen zurück.]

Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach (1830-1916) Austrian writer
Aphorisms, #67 (1880)
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DEMOSTHENES: And dare you rail at wine’s inventiveness?
I tell you nothing has such go as wine.
Why, look you now; ’tis when men drink, they thrive,
Grow wealthy, speed their business, win their suits,
Make themselves happy, benefit their friends.
Go, fetch me out a stoup of wine, and let me
Moisten my wits, and utter something bright.

Aristophanes (c. 450-c. 388 BC) Athenian comedic playwright
Knights, ll. 90-96 [tr. Rogers (1924)]
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Alt. trans.
  • [O'Neill (1938)]: "Do you dare to accuse wine of clouding the reason? Quote me more marvellous effects than those of wine. Look! when a man drinks, he is rich, everything he touches succeeds, he gains lawsuits, is happy and helps his friends. Come, bring hither quick a flagon of wine, that I may soak my brain and get an ingenious idea."
  • [Hickie (1853)]: "Have you the audacity to abuse wine for witlessness? Can you find anything more business-like than wine? Do you see? when men drink, then they are rich, they transact business, gain causes, are happy, assist their friends. Come, bring me out quickly a stoup of wine, that I may moisten my intellect, and say something clever."
Added on 20-May-20 | Last updated 20-May-20
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If I should labor through daylight and dark,
Consecrate, valorous, serious, true,
Then on the world I may blazon my mark;
And what if I don’t, and what if I do?

Dorothy Parker (1893-1967) American writer
“Philosophy,” Enough Rope (1926)
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Added on 18-May-20 | Last updated 18-May-20
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The real and lasting victories are those of peace and not of war.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
“Worship,” The Conduct of Life, ch. 6 (1860)
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If I didn’t care for fun and such,
I’d probably amount to much.
But I shall stay the way I am,
Because I do not give a damn.

Dorothy Parker (1893-1967) American writer
“Observation,” New York World (16 Aug 1925)
Added on 13-Apr-20 | Last updated 13-Apr-20
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Concentration is the secret of strength in politics, in war, in trade, in short, in all management of human affairs.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
“Power,” The Conduct of Life, ch. 2 (1860)
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Added on 31-Mar-20 | Last updated 19-Feb-22
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It isn’t easy for an author to remain a pleasant human being: both success and failure are usually of a crippling kind.

Graham Greene (1904-1991) English novelist [Henry Graham Greene]
“The Poker-Face,” The Spectator (15 Oct 1943)
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Reprinted in The Lost Childhood and Other Essays (1951).
Added on 4-Mar-20 | Last updated 4-Mar-20
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For we hold that the man who is truly good and wise will bear with dignity whatever fortune sends, and will always make the best of his circumstances, as a good general will turn the forces at his command to the best account, and a good shoemaker will make the best shoe that can be made out of a given piece of leather, and so on with all other crafts.

[τὸν γὰρ ὡς ἀληθῶς ἀγαθὸν καὶ ἔμφρονα πάσας οἰόμεθα τὰς τύχας εὐσχημόνως φέρειν καὶ ἐκ τῶν ὑπαρχόντων ἀεὶ τὰ κάλλιστα πράττειν, καθάπερ καὶ στρατηγὸν ἀγαθὸν τῷ παρόντι στρατοπέδῳ χρῆσθαι πολεμικώτατα καὶ σκυτοτόμον ἐκ τῶν δοθέντων σκυτῶν κάλλιστον ὑπόδημα ποιεῖν: τὸν αὐτὸν δὲ τρόπον καὶ τοὺς ἄλλους τεχνίτας ἅπαντας.]

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
Nicomachean Ethics [Ἠθικὰ Νικομάχεια], Book 1, ch. 10, sec. 13 (1.10.13) / 1101a.1-6 (c. 325 BC) [tr. Peters (1893)]
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(Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:

For the man who is truly good and sensible bears all fortunes, we presume, becomingly, and always does what is noblest under the circumstances, just as a good general employs to the best advantage the force he has with him; or a good shoemaker makes the handsomest shoe he can out of the leather which has been given him; and all other good artisans likewise.
[tr. Chase (1847), ch. 8]

For we hold that the really good and prudent man will bear all changes of fortune with good grace, and will always, as the case may allow, act most nobly; exactly as a good general will use such forces as are at his disposal most skilfully, and even as a good cobbler will, out of such leather as he may have, make the most perfect show; and of all those who practice any other art the same rule will hold good.
[tr. Williams (1869), sec. 17]

For our conception of the truly good and sensible man is that he bears all the chances of life with decorum and always does what is noblest in the circumstances, as a good general uses the forces at his command to the best advantage in war, a good cobbler makes the best shoe with the leather that is given him, and so on through the whole series of the arts.
[tr. Welldon (1892)]

For the man who is truly good and wise, we think, bears all the chances life becomingly and always makes the best of circumstances, as a good general makes the best military use of the army at his command and a good shoemaker makes the best shoes out of the hides that are given him; and so with all other craftsmen.
[tr. Ross (1908)]

We hold that the truly good and wise man will bear all kinds of fortune in a seemly way, and will always act in the noblest manner that the circumstances allow; even as a good general makes the most effective use of the forces at his disposal, and a good shoemaker makes the finest shoe possible out of the leather supplied him, and so on with all the other crafts and professions.
[tr. Rackham (1934)]

For a truly good and practically-wise person, we think, will bear what luck brings graciously, and, making use of the resources at hand, will always do the noblest actions, just as a good general makes the best uses in warfare of the army he has and a good shoemaker makes the best shoes out of the hides he has been given, and the same with all other craftsmen.
[tr. Reeve (1948)]

For we hold that a truly good and sensible man will bear all fortunes of life with propriety and will always act most nobly under whatever the given circumstances may be, like a good general, who uses a given army most effectively, or a good shoemaker, who makes the best shoes out of a given leather, and likewise with any artist.
[tr. Apostle (1975)]

For we believe that the truly good and wise man bears all his fortunes with dignity, and always takes the most honorable course that circumstances permit, just as a good general uses his available forces in the most militarily effective way, and a good shoemaker makes the neatest shoe out of the leather supplied to him, and the same with all the other kinds of craftsmen.
[tr. Thomson/Tredennick (1976)]

For a truly good and intelligent person, we suppose, will bear strokes of fortune suitably, and from his resources at any time will do the finest action, just as a good general will make best use of his forces in war, and a good shoemaker will produce the finest shoe from the hides given him, and similarly for all other craftsmen.
[tr. Irwin/Fine (1995)]

For the truly good and wise person, we believe, bears all the fortunes of life with dignity and always does the noblest thing in the circumstances, as a good general does the most strategically appropriate thing with the army at his disposal, and a shoemaker makes the noblest shoe out of the leather he is given, and so on with other practitioners of skills.
[tr. Crisp (2000)]

For we suppose that someone who is truly good and sensible bears up under all fortunes in a becoming way and always does what is noblest given the circumstances, just as a good general makes use, with the greatest military skill, of the army he has and a shoemaker makes the most beautiful shoe out of the leather given him. It holds in the same manner with all the other experts as well.
[tr. Bartlett/Collins (2011)]

Added on 18-Feb-20 | Last updated 12-Apr-22
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It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.

Paulo Coelho (b. 1947) Brazilian spiritual writer
The Alchemist, ch. 1 (1988)
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Nothing is more humiliating than seeing fools succeed where one has failed.

[Rien n’est humiliant comme de voir les sots réussir dans les entreprises où l’on échoue.]

Gustave Flaubert (1821-1880) French writer, novelist
Sentimental Education, Part 1, ch. 5 (1869) [tr. Baldick (1964)/Wall (2004)]
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Alt. trans.:
  • "Nothing is more humiliating than to see idiots succeed in enterprises we have failed in."
  • "There is nothing so humiliating to see as blockheads succeed in undertakings in which we ourselves fail." [Ranout ed. (1922)]
  • "There is nothing so humiliating as to see blockheads succeed in undertakings in which we fail." [tr. Bouvard ed. rev. (2003)]
Added on 30-Jan-20 | Last updated 30-Jan-20
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Success is like reaching an important birthday and finding you’re exactly the same.

Audrey Hepburn (1929-1993) Belgian-English actress
Quoted in Yann-Brice Dherbier and Pierre-Henri Verlhac, Audrey Hepburn : A Life in Pictures (2007)
Added on 21-Jan-20 | Last updated 21-Jan-20
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There is always some peace in having submitted to the right. Don’t spoil it by worrying about the results, if you can help it. It is not your business to succeed (no one can be sure of that) but to do right: when you have done so, the rest lies with God ….

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar [Clive Staples Lewis]
Letter to Arthur Greeves, Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis, Vol. 2: 1931-1949 (2004)
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Added on 20-Sep-19 | Last updated 20-Sep-19
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Success don’t konsist in never making blunders, but in never making the same one the seckond time.

[Success doesn’t consist in never making blunders, but in never making the same one the second time.]

Josh Billings (1818-1885) American humorist [pseud. of Henry Wheeler Shaw]
Everybody’s Friend, Or; Josh Billing’s Encyclopedia and Proverbial Philosophy of Wit and Humor, “Molassis Kandy” (1874)
    (Source)

More discussion of this quotation here.
Added on 5-May-19 | Last updated 5-May-19
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