As we enter a new year, the Internet is flooded with tips on how to reach your goals. How to succeed! We’re bringing you our top 5 failure quotes to remind everybody that while success might feel good in the short term— it’s failure that will really get you places.

 

From the moment we are born we are told that if we work hard, make good choices, and learn from our mistakes – we will win at life. Anyone with some life experience knows this to be a fallacy.

 

You will fail. Not once, not twice, but always.

 

You will make mistakes, often the same ones, over and over again. You will fail. Not once, not twice, but always. You will fail at relationships, you will fail at parenting, and you will fail in your career.

 

The relentless marketing of happiness would have us believe that ultimate fulfillment is just around the corner and that if we’re not happy, we’re doing something wrong. It’s time we saw this narrative for what it is: fiction. Failure and misery are as much a part of the human condition as success and happiness.

 

Life is a kaleidoscope of joy and pain, a constant orbit of light and dark. It is not an endless rosy monotone of contentment. And it is not, as Disney and some business schools like to make out, a brief struggle through hardship into happy-ever-after.

 

So if continuous failure is inevitable, what is the point in striving for success?

 

In a word: growth. Personal growth. To know that with each failure, you grow taller in confidence, deeper in understanding, and broader in knowledge. To be able to say: “Today, I have failed. But tomorrow, I will wake up a bigger, better person.”

 

“You don’t get to the learning without the failure.”

– Beth Comstock, former GE Vice Chair

 

It is this growth mindset that distinguishes great employees from average ones and leaders that go down in history from those that fade into obscurity. This is the mindset that students learn at Hult.

 

Through constant real-world business challenges –design a prototype, pitch your idea, resolve that conflict – stepping outside their comfort zone becomes second nature to Hult students. Each challenge provides multiple opportunities to fail, to learn, to grow. To fail in safety and with guidance from professors who have themselves faced and overcome many challenges in the world of business.

 

“Celebrate failure.”

– Muhtar Kent, Chair and CEO, Coca-Cola

 

However small in confidence or experience a student is when they enter Hult, their continuous exposure to challenges, to failure, and to growth means they emerge with the mindset of giants.

 

It is no coincidence then that so many of Hult’s alumni go on to become entrepreneurs. There is no other profession where you will encounter quite so many setbacks and where courage and resilience are needed in such large quantities.

 

As we enter 2019 and prepare for another year of glorious failure, here are our top five quotes from Hult alumni, guest speakers, and faculty on the value of failure and overcoming adversity.

 

Top 5 failure quotes:

 

1. Arianna Huffington, speaking at Hult Boston:

 

“Failure is the stepping stone to success.”

 

Listen to Arianna Huffington’s speech at Hult Boston

 

 

 

2. Muhtar Kent, Coca-Cola’s Chairman and CEO, speaking to Hult alumni in London:

 

 

“If I would do anything different in my 36 year career, then it would be to create an atmosphere which allows mistakes, as you learn so much from mistakes. Celebrate failure, not just success – makes a great organization, makes a great family. Celebrate failure.”

 

 

Watch Muthar Kent addressing Hult alumni

 

3. Beth Comstock, former GE Vice Chair, in her interview for the Hult Blog

 

 

“Failure is one of the hardest things in business because nobody likes to fail. Often we prefer to just keep repeating the same things in the hope we will never have to fail which is just magical thinking. I’ve failed big and small. I’ve written off business to the tune of tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars. You don’t get to the learning without the failure. Often we forget about failure as a path to what works.”

 

 

Listen to Beth talk about her personal experiences of failure  

 

4. Colin Pyle, Hult MBA Class of 2012, Founder of CRU Kafe:

 

 

“I never want to be afraid of failure, but I want to know that if one of my businesses does fail, I can look at myself in the mirror and say, ‘I tried. Everything.’”

 

 

Watch Colin in the Coffee Hunters Columbia documentary on Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube Channel

5. Hult Professor Cari E. Guitard, writing for the Hult Blog:

 

 

“How do you define success? You answer this question. Not your parents or grandparents, not your partner or dog-walker, best friend or therapist. You—and only you—define what success looks like.”

 

 

Read more articles from Hult Professor Cari E. Guitard

 

 


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