Lauren McEwen
Partnerships strategist & writer

Albert Einstein once said, “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.”

Most of us logically know that everyone makes mistakes in life. And there’s even more truth in this statement for successful people — after all, if you’re avoiding taking risks as a means of steering clear of failures, how successful can you ultimately be?

We sometimes forget that it’s the courage to get up again after our failures that can turn our biggest mistakes into valuable life lessons. When you’re in the middle of a making a bad decision or failing at something, it can be difficult to be kind to yourself and remember that mistakes are a valuable part of learning and gaining life experiences. But this is in and of itself a mistake, if not the greatest mistake of all — allowing fear and regrets to prevent you from growing in wisdom, life lessons, and experience. The next time you’re beating yourself up over a poor decision, read these quotes about making mistakes to get you through the tough times:

1. “Success does not consist in never making mistakes but in never making the same one a second time.” - George Bernard Shaw

2. “We must not say every mistake is a foolish one.” - Cicero

3. “When you love and accept yourself, when you know who really cares about you, and when you learn from your mistakes, then you stop caring about what people who don’t know you think.” - Beyoncé Knowles

4. “Even the knowledge of my own fallibility cannot keep me from making mistakes. Only when I fall do I get up again.” - Vincent van Gogh

5. “After all these years, I am still involved in the process of self-discovery. It’s better to explore life and make mistakes than to play it safe. Mistakes are part of the dues one pays for a full life.” - Sophia Loren

6. “I feel myself becoming the fearless person I have dreamt of being. Have I arrived? No. But I’m constantly evolving and challenging myself to be unafraid to make mistakes.” - Janelle Monae

7. “Perhaps because my relationship with my father went through such a long, bumpy time, it’s been very important for me to work to try to keep lines of communication open between my sons and myself to try to avoid my father’s mistakes. At least if you’re making mistakes, make different mistakes.” - Salman Rushdie

8. “You have to have a cultural ethic that allows for making mistakes. It cannot be that just because you make mistakes, you’re out. You have to make mistakes to innovate.” - Michio Kaku

9. “Take chances, make mistakes. That's how you grow. Pain nourishes your courage. You have to fail in order to practice being brave”. - Mary Tyler Moore

10. “Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them.” - Bruce Lee

11. “Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.” - Scott Adams

12. “If I had to live my life again, I’d make the same mistakes, only sooner.” - Tallulah Bankhead

13. “Mistakes are the portals of discovery.” - James Joyce

14. “There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.” - Buddha

15. “I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something.” - Neil Gaiman

16. “Mistakes are a fact of life. It is the response to the error that counts.” - Nikki Giovanni

17. “There is a fine balance between honoring the past and losing yourself in it. For example, you can acknowledge and learn from mistakes you made, and then move on and refocus on the now. It is called forgiving yourself.” - Eckhart Tolle

18. “Mistakes are almost always of a sacred nature. Never try to correct them. On the contrary: rationalize them, understand them thoroughly. After that, it will be possible for you to sublimate them.” - Salvador Dali

19. “The French word for wanderlust or wandering is ‘errance.’ The etymology is the same as ‘error.’ So to wander is to make mistakes. In other words, to make mistakes, to make errors is sort of the idea of learning through trial and error, allowing the mistakes to be part of the process.” - Robyn Davidson

18. “I have a theory that the only original things we ever do are mistakes.” - Billy Joel

19. “I just have to be myself. I’m not perfect, and I’m going to make mistakes; I might say the wrong thing. I have to be responsible to my community, and I feel like I am, but then I have to not be so hard on myself.” - Laverne Cox

20. “Of course I make mistakes. I’m human. If I didn’t make mistakes, I’d never learn. You can only go forward by making mistakes.” - Alexander McQueen

21. “Most people die of a sort of creeping common sense, and discover when it is too late that the only things one never regrets are one’s mistakes.” - Oscar Wilde

22. “I’ve made my share of mistakes along the way, but if I have changed even one life for the better, I haven’t lived in vain.” - Muhammad Ali

23. “Worrying about the past or the future isn’t productive. When you start chastising yourself for past mistakes, or seeing disaster around every corner, stop and take a breath and ask yourself what you can do right now to succeed.” - Harvey Mackay

24. “When you lose, you’re more motivated. When you win, you fail to see your mistakes and probably no one can tell you anything.” - Venus Williams

25. “You make your mistakes to learn how to get to the good stuff.” - Quincy Jones

26. “We learn from failure, not from success.” - Bram Stoker

27. And lastly, for some levity: “Some of the worst mistakes of my life have been haircuts.” - Jim Morrison

The synopsis? Make a mistake, grow from it, and get on with the rewarding but ultimately risky business (in the best sense) that is living your life.


Lauren McEwen is an Atlanta-based freelance writer and the social media manager for "Hermione Granger and the Quarter Life Crisis."