Success is often made after many failures have occurred first. “A boy never knows how to succeed till he learns how to fail without being discouraged” was cited in print in 1904.
“Success has been defined as the ability to go from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm” was cited in print in a 1953 book and “Success is advancing from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm” was cited in a 1953 newspaper article; no authorship was cited for either. “Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm” was published in The Complete Professional Salesman (1974) and credited to “anonymous.”
In the 1980s, the saying was credited to Winston Churchill (1874-1965). Churchill’s speech has been well documented and no Churchill citation has been found, so it’s doubtful that he said this.
[This entry was prepared with research assistance from the Quote Investigator.]
16 September 1904, The Semi-Weekly Robesonian (Lumberton, NC), “Snap Shots,” pg. 4, col. 5:
One success is usually the result of a good many failures.
A boy never knows how to succeed till he learns how to fail without being discouraged.
Annals of Real Estate Practice, Volume 2
By the National Association of Real Estate Boards
Chicago, IL: National Association of Real Estate Boards
Those who contend that the element that makes for success is the ability to keep pounding away without being discouraged by failures.
How to Say a Few Words
By David Guy Powers
Garden City, NY: Doubleday
Success has been defined as the ability to go from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.
Old Fulton NY Post Cards
13 March 1953, The Morning Herald (Gloversville and Johnstown, NY), “Lenten Readings: On Going On,” pg. 25, col. 4:
It is when we give up that our souls are in danger. Someone has said, “Success is advancing from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.”
The Training Director’s Job in the Development of Men.
Spring conference, June 14 and 15, 1955 [held at] Schenectady, N. Y.
By the Industrial Training Council of New York State
Schenectady, NY: General Electric Co.
Someone once said that man is like the turtle in that he moves forward only when his neck is out. And that means risking failure, which plays a large part in success.
Disraeli tells us that “success is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.”
The Complete Professional Salesman
By Robert L. Shook, Herbert M. Shook and Ron Bingaman
New York, NY: Barnes & Noble
“Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.” (Anonymous)
20 January 1988, Daily Herald (Chicago, IL), “Rochester schools experient with revolutionary teacher pact,” sec. 4, pg. 3, col. 5:
“Winston Churchill’s definition of success, you know what that is? Going from failure to failure with undiminished enthusiasm.”
(Adam Urbanski, teacher union president, Rochester, NY.—ed.)
You’re Smarter Than You Think:
How to Develop Your Practical Intelligence for Success in Living
By Seymour Epstein and Archie Brodsky
New York, NY: Simon & Schuster
In addition, an upbeat personality generates enthusiasm in others and thus creates the conditions for success. “To attain success,” Churchill said, “one should be prepared to proceed from failure to failure with undiminished enthusiasm.”
10 March 1993, The Orange County Register (Santa Ana, CA), pg. B6, col. 3:
“Success is often nothing more than moving from failure to another with undiminished enthusiasm.”
10 December 1993, Anderson (IN) Herald Bulletin, “Whoopi hasn’t kicked the ‘Habit,’” pg. C1, col. 5:
“Winston Churchill said something very interesting about personal power. He said true power is an individual’s ability to move from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm, and there’s something in that that rings true for me.”
Stressed Out: Hot, Dry, and about to Crumble:
Seven Prescriptions for the Emotionally Drained
By Lyman Coleman
Littleton, CO: Serendipity
Winston Churchill gives us a perspective on failure when he said, “Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”
21-Day Countdown to Success:
Charge of Your Life in Less Than a Month
By Chris J. Witting
Franklin Lakes, NJ: Career Press
Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of England, led his nation to victory in World War II. Appropriately enough, Churchill once defined success as “the ability to go from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”
20 February 2003, The Post-Standard (Syracuse, NY) “Senior dreams of designing computer games,” Oswego sec., pg. 6, col. 5:
Some favorite quotations: “Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss in enthusiasm.”—Sir Winston Churchill
“Success”: What Churchill REALLY Said
by RICHARD M. LANGWORTH on 26 MARCH 2011
AMONG THE THINGS CHURCHILL NEVER SAID:
• “Success is going from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” (Broadly attributed to Churchill, but found nowhere in his canon. An almost equal number of sources credit this saying to Abraham Lincoln; but none of them provides any attribution.)