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.

"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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