[Year in Review 2021] ‘Failure is the pillar of success’ – 40 inspiring quotes on failure, resilience and success

As you take stock of the ups and downs of the year gone by, here are some words of comfort and inspiration to help interpret failure and emerge stronger!

[Year in Review 2021] ‘Failure is the pillar of success’ – 40 inspiring quotes on failure, resilience and success

Friday December 31, 2021,

7 min Read

Launched in 2014, StoryBites is a regular feature from YourStory, featuring notable quotable quotes in our past articles. Share these gems and insights with your colleagues and networks, and check back to the original articles for more insights.

Mistakes and errors are part of the startup journey, and show the path to success ahead. A mindset of resilience, reflection and resolve is key to bounce back from challenges. Learning from the mistakes of others and asking for help when down and out are useful practices as well.

Drawn from our comprehensive coverage of the startup ecosystem, we present 40 quotes on how to accept and cope with the inevitable challenges in the entrepreneur’s roller-coaster journey (see last year’s quotes compilation here).

We have divided this quotes compilation into six sections: Mindsets, Learnings, Failure and success, The entrepreneur journey, Organisational culture, and The road ahead.

See also our reviews of the related books The Fail-Safe Startup, The Other ‘F’ Word, The Serendipity Mindset, Adapt, The Up Side of Down, Who Blunders and How, The Wisdom of Failure, Fail Better, Fail Fast, and Failing to Succeed.

YourStory wishes all founders, innovators and changemakers a Happy New Year ahead, and all the best for success and scale in 2022!



People should have an appetite for failure as well. No idea is unique. It’s only about who gets there first and executes better. - Shailendra Katyal, Lenovo

Don’t let challenges and failures get to you – you’re going to be a student until you are one hundred years old. - Sarah El Battouty, ECOnsult

You simply cannot let rejections affect your self-confidence. - Sharib Hashmi, ‘The Family Man’

Don’t give up on your dreams, and don’t be afraid of failures. Failures help you grow, and as long as you are growing, you are definitely succeeding. - Sakshi Bakshi, Nucros Science

Failure is the key to introduce new and more effective ideas. There is often a fear of failure that inhibits people from trying out new ideas. - Karthik Rajagopal, Manipal Health Enterprises


Failure is a feeling long before it becomes an actual result. It’s vulnerability that breeds with self-doubt and then is escalated, often deliberately, by fear. - Michelle Obama

Don’t be hard on yourself. There will be valleys and peaks and one must learn to take both in their stride. - Rituparna Mandal, MediaTek

I am eternally grateful to those failures because I wouldn’t have found my purpose otherwise. - Shantanu Moitra, composer

In school, we are never taught how to go through a bad phase of life or deal with failure. The society looks down on people suffering from depression and other mental health problems. - Aishwarya Jain, I’m Happiness

Expectations are always there from family and friends. You just have to zone in when you are failing at what you want out of life, and stay true to that. - Tejas Goenka, Tally Solutions

You have to develop the ability to detach to see that a product or company failing does not mean you are a failure. - Bhavna Dalal, Checkmate Office Politics


Learning from failure

Just find one thing about your failure that reminds you that you are still very good at something valuable. - Jason Goldberg, Fab.com

Learn from your failures. It’s okay to fail when building your startup, just keep failing forward, learning and growing. - Liana Nzabampema, Segal Family Foundation

The key to success lies in experimenting, failing, gleaning the invaluable lessons from the failures, and priming yourself up for success. - Madhav Sheth, realme

You might experience a lot of failures, but you will have unique insights that most won’t. - Abhishek Nayay, Appsmith

Every failed attempt adds vital learnings to the next innovation, and one of them is bound to work and turn big. - Beerud Sheth, Gupshup

Don't fear failure. Failure just means you are learning, Keep failing, because you will be learning your entire career. - Rohini Choudhary, Chitra Santhe

You have the right to fail. It is healthy to fail, but don’t stop. Learn from your mistakes. - May Gah Allah, Konouz Nubia Foundation

There is no right or wrong in art. Every 'mistake' leads you on a path of discovery. - Manisha Raghunath, Chitra Santhe


Failure and success

Tackle every obstacle thrown your way and take every challenge in your stride to emerge stronger, with a successful business. - Purvi Rohit Pugalia, The Rooted Co

People see the end success but not what goes behind the stage — the thousands of failures behind each success and milestone. - Tanushree Jain, Nushaura

Failure is the pillar of success. When one door shuts, more open. - Pranab K. Pani, Talendeate beyond Border

'Failing in succeeding' will soon be the new mantra for budding entrepreneurs in the country. Days are not far ahead when we will celebrate failure. - MS Sahoo, IBBI

Musical expertise is a product of multiple inputs from a variety of sources, experiences, influences, inspirations, challenges, struggles, failures, and victories. - Sonu Nigam

Our scars hint at the heroes inside us. - Gunjan Shrivastava, The Victory Chronicles


The entrepreneur journey

It is rare to find an entrepreneur who succeeded with their first venture and the first product. The first product and the first company would invariably fail. - Kaninika Mishra, The Indic Quotient

We actually call it pivot, so no company ever fails, we only pivot. - Bhavin Turakhia, Zeta

There’s no failing as an entrepreneur; only learning. Believe in yourself and your idea, and deliver your best every day; the rest will fall in place. - Arjeeta C Singhvi, ekSlate

It is life after each setback or failure that defines you and not the failure that defines you. So, if you can’t stick it out, don’t start it. - Ronnie Screwvala, upGrad

The key is to keep your failures small, and go big and raise the bar when you find relative success. - Byju Raveendran

You’re likely aware that while failure may be painful, the entrepreneurial path is, for many people, an irresistible draw – a career calling. You may well be one of them. - Tom Eisenmann, ‘Fail-Safe Startup’


Organisational culture

It’s ok to fail as long as we learn from our mistakes, and companies must talk about this more because there are valuable lessons hidden in these failures. - Anjana Menon, What's Your Story?

Inside the culture of an enterprise or firm, you've got to allow teams to be able to fail sometimes, but fail early and fail smart, don't go on for a long time. - Arvind Krishna, IBM

Organisations need to allow women to experiment and give them the platform to collaborate, occasionally fail, and encourage them to raise their hands. - Vaishali Kasturae, AWS India

Value-based organisations succeed in trying times when others fail. - Mukesh Batra, 'The Nation’s Homeopath'

Rectification needs to take place when failures take place. But how can it be fixed, if no one discusses it or owns it, or if the boss is blissfully ignorant of the developments? - Robin Banerjee, ‘Who Blunders and How’

The fear of failure and risk aversion culture is a crucial obstacle to innovation. - Shilohu Rao, NeGD

Failure is an initial glimpse of an innovative future. Appreciating the thought and effort while creating a safe space for failure to happen quickly is a cornerstone of design thinking. - Jayan Sen, Infosys


The road ahead

Life is a continuum of being able to overcome and transcend setbacks. - Vani Kola, Kalaari Capital

Local culture has to be supportive in the form of risk tolerance, appreciation of failure as a stepping stone for success, support for innovation, creativity, drive and hunger for achievements, respect for risk-taking, and wealth creation - MH Bala Subrahmanya, ‘Entrepreneurial Ecosystems for Tech Start-ups in India’

The country should celebrate failure because it is only when somebody fails, he knows how not to do something. - Piyush Goyal, Commerce and Industry Minister

Failures are a comma, a brief pause. - Ronnie Screwvala, ‘Skill It, Kill It’

YourStory has also published the pocketbook ‘Proverbs and Quotes for Entrepreneurs: A World of Inspiration for Startups’ as a creative and motivational guide for innovators (downloadable as apps here: Apple, Android).

Edited by Anju Narayanan