Elbert Hubbard? Kin Hubbard? Ralph Waldo Emerson? Robert Burns Wilson? Henry Austin? Anonymous?
Dear Quote Investigator: Success is often achieved via persistence. Here is a popular elaboration of this notion:
There is no defeat except from within. There is really no insurmountable barrier, save your own inherent weakness of purpose.
This remark has been attributed to essayist and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson, publisher and aphorist Elbert Hubbard, painter and poet Robert Burns Wilson, cartoonist and humorist Kin Hubbard and others. Would you please explore this topic?
Quote Investigator: The earliest match located by QI appeared in the New York journal “The Critic” in 1887 within a five paragraph piece titled “And So—I Gave Up Trying!” by Robert Burns Wilson. Here is an excerpt with boldface added by QI:1887 October 8, The Critic: A Weekly Review of Literature and the Arts, “And So—I Gave Up Trying!” by Robert Burns Wilson, Start Page 173, Quote Page 173, The Critic Company, New York. (Google … Continue reading
There is no defeat except from within. There is really no insurmountable barrier, save your own inherent weakness of purpose. There is no power either in heaven or earth that can successfully oppose the onward course of the perfectly determined soul.
Success as the world names it is but a word, which with the next breath may signify defeat. But success as the soul knows it, is to have within the sustaining sense of right and an unselfish purpose. There is no failure except in no longer trying.
Ralph Waldo Emerson died in 1882 before the text above appeared. The first attribution to Emerson known to QI occurred in 1905. This citation was not substantive. Other linkages to prominent individuals were also quite weak.
Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.