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Winning Words From Those Who've Known Defeat

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Sunday, November 2, 2008

The quotation "Winning isn't everything; it's the only thing" is often attributed to Vince Lombardi, the legendary Green Bay Packers coach and mass producer of aphorisms. Lombardi, though, favored a more nuanced spin on the classic line: "Winning isn't everything; the will to win is the only thing." Here are other lines from successful people who have at some time known failure.

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"In God's economy, nothing is wasted. Through failure, we learn a lesson in humility which is probably needed, painful though it is."

-- Bill Wilson, co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous,

in "As Bill Sees It" (1967)

* * *

" Failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. . . . Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged. I was set free, because my greatest fear had already been realized, and I was still alive, and I still had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life."

-- Excerpt from the June 2008 Harvard University

commencement speech by

J.K. Rowling, right, the

billionaire author of the


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