21 Quotes From “Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn”

Sometimes You WinAs I mentioned in my book review (which you can read by clicking here), John Maxwell always expands my horizons with his writings. I appreciate his ability to use his own life experiences as well as historical and contemporary examples and writings. So some of my favorite quotes from Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn are from Dr. Maxwell, and some are from others that he quotes. Enjoy!

“I sometimes react to making a mistake as if I have betrayed myself. My fear of making a mistake seems to be based on the hidden assumption that I am potentially perfect and that if I can just be very careful, I will not fall from heaven. But a mistake is a declaration of the way I am, a jolt to the way I intend, a reminder that I am not dealing with facts. When I have listened to my mistakes, I have grown.” —Hugh Prather

“Those who profit from adversity possess a spirit of humility and are therefore inclined to make the necessary changes needed to learn from their mistakes, failures, and losses. … When we are focused too much on ourselves, we lose perspective. Humility allows us to regain perspective and see the big picture. … Humility allows us to let go of perfection and keep trying.” —John Maxwell

“Most people spend their entire lives in a fantasy Island called ‘Someday I’ll.’” —Denis Waitley 

“An idealist believes the short-run doesn’t count. A cynic believes the long run doesn’t matter. A realist believes that what is done or left undone in the short-run determines the long run.” —Sydney J. Harris

“Those things that hurt, instruct.” —Benjamin Franklin

“You can’t grow and learn if your focus is on finding someone else to blame instead of looking at your own shortcomings.” —John Maxwell

“The highest reward for our toil is not what we get for it but what we become by it. … Mistakes are not failures. They are proof that we are making an effort. When we understand that, we can more easily move out of our comfort zone, try something new, and improve. … Improvement demands a commitment to grow long after the mood in which it was made has passed.” —John Maxwell 

“Success in most things comes not from some gigantic stroke of fate, but from simple, incremental progress.” —Andrew Wood

“The main trouble with despair is that it is self-fulfilling. People who fear the worst tend to invite it. Heads that are down can’t scan the horizon for new openings. Bursts of energy do not spring from a spirit of defeat. Ultimately, helplessness leads to hopelessness.” —Norman Cousins

“Positive thinking must be followed by positive doing.” —John Maxwell

“When you are influential and highly respected, people tend to tell you what you want to hear, not what you need to hear. They are seeking your approval, or they flatter you. Unfortunately, this creates a gap between what you hear and reality. If you find yourself in that situation, you will need to work extra hard to get the people close to you to speak honestly into your life. And you will have to become highly intentional in observing and listening.” —John Maxwell 

“Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you would have preferred to talk.” —Doug Larson

“Circumstances are the rulers of the weak; but they are the instruments of the wise.” —Samuel Lover 

“Mistakes are painful when they happen, but years later a collection of mistakes is what is called experience.” —Denis Waitley

“Ninety percent of those who fail are not actually defeated; they simply quit. … As you face bad experiences, it’s important for you to remember that you can rarely see the benefits while you’re in the midst of them. You usually gain perspective on the other side of it.” —John Maxwell 

“Most people would rather change their circumstances to improve their lives when instead they need to change themselves to improve their circumstances. They put in just enough effort to distance themselves from their problems without ever trying to go after the root, which can often be found in themselves. Because they don’t try to change the source of their problems, their problems keep coming back at them.” —John Maxwell

“To grow, you must be willing to let your present and future be totally unlike your past. Your history is not your destiny.” —Alan Cohen

“If I had my life to live over again, I’d make the same mistakes, only sooner.” —Tallulah Bankhead

“Maturity is doing what you are supposed to be doing, when you’re supposed to be doing it, no matter how you feel.” —Dom Capers 

“Have you not succeeded? Continue! Have you succeeded? Continue!” —Fridtjof Nansen, Nobel Peace Prize winner

“How we think when we lose determines how long it will be until we win.” —G.K. Chesterton


Feats of thinking may create reputation, but habits of thinking create character. —A.W. Tozer

If this is true, then I’ve got some questions to ask myself:

  • How do I think?
  • How am I processing the world around me?
  • Do I see the hand of God in daily events?
  • Can I find His truth at work?
  • Am I learning from what I experience each day?
  • Do I think positively or negatively?
  • Do difficulties cause faith or fear?
  • Am I thinking long enough?
  • Do my thoughts produce a Christ-like attitude?
  • Do I take time to think about my thoughts?

Two more thinking quotes for today:

Life consists of what a man is thinking about all day. —Ralph Waldo Emerson

Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.Philippians 4:8


On Sunday we kicked off a new series A Season Of Thanks looking at this verse

Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.

Here’s the deal: If you elevate your thinking to positive things, your life will be more positive. The best place to start is thank-fullness… being full of thanks. Make it a habit in your life to find more things for which you can give thanks.

I searched the Twitterverse for some thoughts about elevated thinking…



Feel free to add your own in the comments below. Oh yeah, and come join us next Sunday for A Season Of Thanks part 2.

Thought Patrol

Have you ever found yourself in circumstances that weren’t exactly what you had planned or hoped for? You know, things are just not going your way? What do you do then? How do you handle this? I suggest the first place to start is by thinking about your thinking.

I know that may sound a little unusual, but I have often times had to stop to think about what I’m thinking about. To ask myself, “Why am I thinking that?”

I believe this is what the Bible is really saying when it tells us to take every thought captive. If we don’t, our negative thoughts can lead us to unplanned places and can keep us trapped there. But if we will take time to think about what we’re thinking about, we can discover the key to freedom from that undesirable place.

A couple of quotes to get you (and me) started —

“No man has ever succeeded who kept his mind on negative things… and no man ever rises above his thoughts of himself.” —C.M. Ward

“You are today where your thoughts have brought you. You will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.” —James Allen, As A Man Thinketh

“They themselves are makers of themselves by virtue of the thoughts which they choose and encourage; that mind is the master-weaver, both of the inner garment of character and the outer garment of circumstance, and that, as they may have hitherto woven in ignorance and pain they may now weave in enlightenment and happiness.” —James Allen, As A Man Thinketh

“Only when you assume full accountability for your thoughts, feelings, actions, and results can you direct your own destiny; otherwise, someone or something else will.” —Roger Conners, Tom Smith & Craig Hickman, The Oz Principle

“Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.” —Philippians 4:8, The Bible

I’m working on patrolling my thoughts today. How about you?

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