59 Missed Opportunity Quotes For Life’s Teachable Moments

Get some fresh perspective with these missed opportunity quotes. 

These quotes about missed opportunities are for anybody who has ever squandered something. 

Learning to move on from missed opportunities allows us to remain receptive to new opportunities. 

Why do people miss opportunities?

Decisions come along with trade-offs that force people to accept missing opportunities. 

It is usual for missed opportunities to elicit regret. 

A 2017 study found that future misses caused less regret than past misses.

Below are some of the top reasons people miss opportunities. 

Sometimes we put something off because we believe it will be better to get to it later. 

Other times we tell ourselves, “I will do it as soon as I get such and such.” 

The truth is there is no official start date for our dreams and desires. 

Today is always the day to start creating and taking steps toward our goal.

Missing out is not always so bad. 

Missed opportunities provide us with valuable learning experiences. 

We gain clarity and a new perspective when we realize we missed out on something. 

Making the most out of missed opportunities

It is easy to get stuck in a repetitive cycle where we beat ourselves up for missing an opportunity. 

Devoting time to regret the past makes us blind to opportunities in the present.

The only way to miss an opportunity is to sit around thinking about missing opportunity! 

Check out our missed opportunity quotes below!

You will also enjoy our article on right person wrong time quotes.

Short missed opportunity quotes

These concise missed opportunity quotes get straight to the point.  

1. “Don’t be afraid of missing opportunities.” — Lily Tomlin 

2 “They missed a great opportunity to shut up.” — Jacques Chirac 

3. “We’ve all got a black book of missed opportunities.” — Jim Broadbent

4. “Opportunity is a bird that never perches.” — Claude Maxwell MacDonald

5. “While we stop to think, we often miss our opportunity.” — Publilius Syrus

6. “Our lives are defined by opportunities, even the ones we miss.” — Eric Roth

7. “History is nothing if not an epic tale of missed opportunities.” — Graydon Carter

8. “Nothing is more expensive than a missed opportunity.” — H. Jackson Brown, Jr. 

9. “Allow opportunities so they won’t become missed opportunities.” — Franklin Gillette

10. “We all have neglected opportunities to deplore.” — Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes

Insightful missed opportunity quotes

These missed opportunity quotes and sayings come from a rich list of authors. 

11. “I was seldom able to see an opportunity until it had ceased to be one.” — Mark Twain

12. “Stop worrying about missed opportunities and start looking for new ones.” — I. M. Pei

13. “Behind every failure is an opportunity somebody wishes they had missed.” — Lily Tomlin 

14. “Opportunities are like sunrises. If you wait too long, you miss them.” — William Arthur Ward

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15. “Missed opportunities were never superficial wounds; they cut straight to the bone.” — Jodi Picoult

16. “I’ve learned that opportunities are never lost; someone will take the ones you miss.” — Andy Rooney

17. “Don’t live in regret over missed opportunities, for if you do, you will miss even more.” — Charbel Tadros

18. “Opportunities are usually disguised as hard work, so most people don’t recognize them.” — Ann Landers

19. “Once I’ve made the decision, I don’t view it as a missed opportunity, just a different path.” —  Andrew Lincoln

20. “Don’t allow missed opportunities of the past interfere with the opportunities that are right before you.” — Ryan Robbins

Missing opportunities quotes to inspire and teach

Passing on an opportunity is not the same as missing an opportunity. 

21. “Women should never go without earrings. Passing on them is an opportunity missed.” — Jennifer Lopez

22. “Why cry about missed opportunities when you have the ability to smile at opportunities lived?” — Greg Plitt

23. “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” — Thomas A. Edison 

24. “Some of our important choices have a timeline. If we delay a decision, the opportunity is gone forever.” — James E. Faust 

25. “People regret not achieving enough success in life; they should regret missing many opportunities in life.” — Amit Kalantri

26. “There is nothing more heartbreaking than a squandered opportunity, a missed chance.” — Ottessa Moshfegh, Death in Her Hands

27. “The biggest waste of an opportunity is the opportunity to tell someone how much you love them.” ― Akash S. Bansal, Desires and Destiny

28. “Men of experience say, “Four things do not come back: the spoken word, the sped arrow, the past life, and the neglected opportunity.”” — Ted Chiang, Exhalation

29. “Too often, we miss out on opportunities in this life because we were too busy waiting for them to fall into our lap that we missed them tapping on our shoulder.” — Daniel Willey

Missed opportunity quotes that make you think

Staying focused on the present allows us to see new opportunities when they present themselves. 

30. “He missed an invaluable opportunity to hold his tongue.” Andrew Lang

31. “If you have security, it can be boring, and you die inside because of all the opportunities missed.” — Alain de Botton 

32. “Sometimes our doubts keep us from making a choice that involves change. Thus an opportunity may be missed.” — James E. Faust 

33. “For everything you have missed, you have gained something else, and for everything you gain, you lose something else.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson 

34. “For most people, the process of finding the perfect partner is one trial and error: breakups, makeups, missed opportunities and misunderstandings.” — Haruki Murakami

35. “Life’s missed opportunities, at the end, may seem more poignant to us than those we embraced — because in our imagination they have a perfection that reality can never rival.” — Roger Ebert

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36. “An opportunity is like a train on the move. Once its doors have closed, it’s gone. But do stick around; another one will surely be on its way; carrying with it better opportunities.” — Naide P Obiang

37. “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” — Michael Jordan

38. “We yearn for opportunities, we pray for opportunities, and we seek for opportunities. The good news is that we meet opportunities. The bad news is that we miss the opportunities only to come to a later realization of missed opportunities.” ― Ernest Agyemang Yeboah

39. “But to deny fate is arrogance, to declare that we are the sole shapers of our existence is madness; if you deny fate, life becomes the series of missed opportunities, a regret for what never was and could have been, a remorse of what was not done and could have been done, and the present is wasted, twisted into another missed opportunity.” — Oriana Fallaci

Missed opportunities quotes about life

Learning from life’s missed opportunities is a sure way to transformative education. 

40. “There’s no point whining about missed opportunities.” — Martin Schulz

41. “I never really look at life and worry about missed opportunities.” — Clive Owen

42. “I don’t feel a yearning or a sense of missed opportunities. I don’t have many regrets.” — Michael J. Fox

43. “I know not, sir, whether Bacon wrote the works of Shakespeare, but if he did not, it seems to me that he missed the opportunity of his life.” — James M. Barrie 

44. “For me, the times I always regret are missed opportunities to say farewell to good people, to wish them long life and say to them in all sincerity.” — Kevin Hearne

45. “When you spin a globe and point to a city and actually go to that city, you build an allowance of missed opportunities on the back end.” — Sloane Crosley

46. “It is the missed opportunity that counts, and in a love that vainly yearns from behind prison bars, you have perchance the love supreme.” — Antoine de Saint-Exupery

47. “Throughout my life, I had wandered alone, trying to find pieces of me in any place I could, and when it came down to it, I was nothing but a shell of missed opportunities.” — Matthew Carter

48. “I think I could look back through the past few years at missed opportunities and stuff, but one thing I have learned is not to dwell on missed chances or times where you have failed.” — Michael Chang

49. “Because the rhythm of conversation makes no allowance for dead periods because the presence of others calls for continuous responses, we are left to regret the inanity of what we say, and the missed opportunity of what we do not.” — Alain de Botton

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50. “You also need to show a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to impropriety. That’s one of the things, again, that Republicans left on the table as a missed opportunity.” ― Andrea Tantaros

51. “The euro is a great achievement. It’s a symbolic achievement. But, the European constitution was a missed opportunity.” ― Bernard-Henri Levy

52. “There is nothing like the start of a season, before all the one-run losses, pitching breakdowns and missed opportunities. Before reality sets in.” ― Michael Connelly

53. “Every day that goes by and we don’t win a ballgame, that’s a missed opportunity for us to battle back.” ― Brett Gardner

54. “I’ve seen – both in myself and my competitors – how satisfaction can lead to a lack of vigilance, then to mistakes and missed opportunities.” ― Garry Kasparov

55. “Throughout my life I had wandered alone, trying to find pieces of me in any place I could and when it came down to it, I was nothing but a shell of missed opportunities.” ― Matthew Carter

56. “[God] is able to take your life, with all of the heartache, all of the pain, all of the regret, all of the missed opportunities, and use you for His glory.” ― Charles R. Swindoll

57. “It may be tempting to look back and wring our hands over missed opportunities for change in the preceding decades. But, I’m not interested at looking in the rearview mirror except to learn.” ― Jennifer Granholm

58. “When you experience a failure as a leader, don’t hide it – talk about it. Your missed opportunity will encourage others to take risks.” ― Naveen Jain

59. “Living well is the best revenge.If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” ― Max Eastman

Open the door when opportunity knocks

Success does not become possible without failure.

Architect I. M. Pei had great success in his career. 

Pei reminded people to “Stop worrying about missed opportunities and start looking for new ones.” 

Missed opportunities can be powerful turning points in our lives. 

A hilarious scene from The Simpsons captures the essence of missed opportunity. 

At a new school, Bart reveals his low level of knowledge, and his new teacher puts him in a lower grade. 

Bart tells the teacher, “Look, lady, I’m supposed to be in the fourth grade.” 

The teacher responds, “Sounds to me like someone’s got a case of the ‘sposdas.’” 

That was the first time Bart regretted the missed learning opportunities he passed on to pursue pranks. 

We all have aspects of our lives we would like to improve. 

Sometimes we think we are “supposed to be” somewhere else; that type of belief system invalidates all the steps it took us to get where we are. 

Let us know which missed opportunity quotes and sayings were your favorite in the comments.

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