Notable Quotes
Browse quotes by subject | Browse quotes by author


quotations about mistakes

Mistakes quote

If one wants to be active, one must not be afraid of going wrong, one must not be afraid of making mistakes now and then. Many people think that they will become good just by doing no harm -- but that's a lie.... That way lies stagnation, mediocrity.

VINCENT VAN GOGH, letter to Theo van Gogh, Oct. 1884

The errors of a man are what make him really lovable.

JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, The Maxims and Reflections of Goethe

It is much easier at all times to prevent an evil than to rectify mistakes.

GEORGE WASHINGTON, letter to James McHenry, Aug. 10, 1798

If you live long enough, you'll make mistakes. But if you learn from them, you'll be a better person.


Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes.

OSCAR WILDE, Lady Windermere's Fan

It is with pleasure I receive reproof, when reproof is due, because no person can be readier to accuse me, than I am to acknowledge an error, when I am guilty of one; nor more desirous of atoning for a crime, when I am sensible of having committed it.

GEORGE WASHINGTON, letter to Governor Dinwiddie, Aug. 27, 1757

Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.


If common sense were as unerring as calculus, as some suggest, I don't understand why so many mistakes are made so often by so many people.

CARY WINKEL, as quoted in Explaining One's Self to Others: Reason-Giving in a Social Context

To err is human, but it feels divine.

MAE WEST, The Wit and Wisdom of Mae West

A double error sometimes sets us right.


To rectify past blunders is impossible, but we might profit by the experience of them.

GEORGE WASHINGTON, letter to Fielding Lewis, Jul. 6, 1780

Hindsight is of little value in the decision-making process. It distorts our memory for events that occurred at the time of the decision so that the actual consequence seems to have been a "foregone conclusion." Thus, it may be difficult to learn from our mistakes.

DIANE F. HALPERN, Thought and Knowledge

An expert is someone who knows some of the worst mistakes that can be made in his subject and how to avoid them.

WERNER HEISENBERG, Physics and Beyond

I can bear to hear of imputed or real errors. The man who wishes to stand well in the opinion of others must do this; because he is thereby enabled to correct his faults, or remove prejudices which are imbibed against him.

GEORGE WASHINGTON, letter to Joseph Reed, Jan. 14, 1776

All men may err; but he that keepeth not his folly, but repenteth, doeth well; but stubbornness cometh to great trouble.


Hindsight, or our ability to see our past clearly, is a learning function that, when damaged ... renders us unable to look at the past to guide ourselves through the present and into the future. Without this ability, we cannot learn from our mistakes. We cannot clean up the wreckage of our actions. We are locked into a cycle of repeating the same thing over and over again, expecting different results. This is commonly known as the definition of insanity.

BARBARA S. COLE, The Gifts of Sobriety

We ought not to look back, unless it is to derive useful lessons from past errors, and for the purpose of profiting by dear bought experience. To enveigh against things that are past and irremediable, is unpleasing; but to steer clear of the shelves and rocks we have struck upon, is the part of wisdom, equally as incumbent on political as other men, who have their own little bark, or that of others, to navigate through the intricate paths of life, or the trackless ocean, to the haven of security and rest.

GEORGE WASHINGTON, letter to Major-General Armstrong, Mar. 26, 1781

It's a good deal easier to resist the first step on the road to ruin than any of the thousand that inevitably follow.

MARK FROST, The List of Seven

If you don't have a margin for error, error kills you.

S. M. STIRLING, The Sunrise Lands

There are people who make no mistakes because they never wish to do anything worth doing.

JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, The Maxims and Reflections of Goethe

Mistakes occur through haste, never through doing a thing leisurely.


No error is infused into the young mind, to lie there dormant, or to be reproduced only when the subject of thought or action recurs to which the error belongs; but the error becomes a model or archetype, after whose likeness the active powers of the mind create a thousand other errors.


If you insist on disavowing that which is ugly about what you do ... you will never learn from your mistakes.


To make mistakes is human, but to profit from them is divine.

ELBERT HUBBARD, The American Bible

The best lessons a man ever learns are from his mistakes. It is not for want of schoolmasters that we are still ignorant.

HENRY WARD BEECHER, Proverbs from Plymouth Pulpit

It is not so difficult a task to plant new truths, as to root out old errors; for there is this paradox in men, they run after that which is new, but are prejudiced in favour of that which is old.


Though you may be last to discover your follies, be always first to correct them.

NORMAN MACDONALD, Maxims and Moral Reflections

It is a very hard and troublesome thing to dispose of whole, half, and quarter-mistakes; to sift them and assign the portion of truth to its proper place.

JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, The Maxims and Reflections of Goethe

We are never so liable to fall into an error, as when we have just escaped from one.

NORMAN MACDONALD, Maxims and Moral Reflections

Even honest men mistake oftener in their own favor than in other peoples.

FULKE GREVILLE, Maxims, Characters and Reflections

Mishaps are like knives, that either serve us or cut us, as we grasp them by the blade or the handle.

JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL, Cambridge Thirty Years Ago

I prefer being wrong in my own way to being right in someone else's.

YEVGENY ZAMYATIN, Contemporary Russian Literature

What an unchallenging life it would be if we always got things right on the first go.

RANSOM RIGGS, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

No man's error becomes his own law, nor obliges him to persist in it.


I never make the same mistake twice. I make it five or six times, you know, just to be sure.


You want to cry aloud for your mistakes. But to tell the truth the world doesn't need any more of that sound.

MARY OLIVER, "The Poet With His Face in His Hands," New and Selected Poems, vol. 2

The greatest mistake we make is living in constant fear that we will make one.

JOHN C. MAXWELL, The Power of Thinking Big

The wise man corrects his own errors by observing those of others.

PUBLILIUS SYRUS, The Moral Sayings of Publilius Syrus

He is a thorough accountant who can cast up correctly the sum of his own errors.

ELIZA COOK, Diamond Dust

Falsity cannot keep an idea from being beautiful; there are certain errors of such ingenuity that one could regret their not ranking among the achievements of the human mind.

JEAN ROSTAND, "A Biologist's Thoughts," The Substance of Man

Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.



Life Quotes

Love Quotes

Death Quotes

God Quotes

Wisdom Quotes

Hope Quotes

Success Quotes

Women Quotes

Happiness Quotes

Shakespeare Quotes