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200 Inspirational Quotes About Overcoming Adversity

Last Updated: October 15, 2022 by Team

Adversity is anything in life that causes you to stumble. It’s the hard times, the challenges, and the losses. And for some, it feels like one thing after another on this crazy journey called life. Adversity is like a fist punch to the stomach.

Everyone experiences adversity at some point in life. It comes upon you in an unfamiliar and unexpected manner. But although it’s always stressful and chaotic at first, adversity is how we learn and grow. As the saying goes, what does not kill you makes you stronger. After a difficult challenge or moment, we develop a resiliency that helps us deal with other challenges in life.

Adversity hurts, but it can also bring out the best in us. Although bad experiences make us suffer from mental, physical, and spiritual pain, that suffering helps us develop a greater understanding of hardship and prepares us more for when it comes again. You cannot control the pain that comes with adversity, but you can control your response and have more courage and strength in the face of it.

So today, we’re exploring quotes about overcoming adversity that can get you through even the most challenging times. These quotes are from inspirational people who overcame adversity right after hitting rock bottom. They didn’t let life throw their dreams away. Instead, they challenged the world and proved their worth.

Let’s get to it!

200 Adversity Quotes

Top 10 Adversity Quotes

“Acceptance of what has happened is the first step to overcoming the consequences of any misfortune.” – William James

“When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm.” – Abraham Lincoln

“If I had a formula for bypassing trouble, I would not pass it round. Trouble creates a capacity to handle it. I don’t embrace trouble; that’s as bad as treating it as an enemy. But I do say meet it as a friend, for you’ll see a lot of it and had better be on speaking terms with it.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes

“You can’t be brave if you’ve only had wonderful things happen to you.” – Mary Tyler Moore

“Opportunities do not come with their values stamped upon them.” – Maltbie Babcock

“Risk anything! Care no more for the opinion of others … Do the hardest thing on earth for you. Act for yourself. Face the truth.” – Katherine Mansfield

“It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” – Albert Einstein

“There’s a bit of magic in everything, and some loss to even things out.” – Lou Reed

“Life is thickly sown with thorns, and I know no other remedy than to pass quickly through them. The longer we dwell on our misfortunes, the greater is their power to harm us.” – Voltaire

Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit. Napoleon Hill

Famous Adversity Quotes

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“Don’t let your mind bully your body into believing it must carry the burden of its worries.” – Astrid Alauda

“Fresh activity is the only means of overcoming adversity.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.” – Haruki Murakami

“When you challenge a warrior, a warrior responds.” – Ray Lewis

“You can’t calm the storm, so stop trying. What you can do is calm yourself. The storm will pass.” – Timber Hawkeye

“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.” – Khalil Gibran

“True motivation is not getting people to play to their potential. It’s getting people to play beyond their potential.” – Rick Pitino

“Let me embrace thee, sour adversity, for wise men say it is the wisest course.” – William Shakespeare

“There are uses to adversity, and they don’t reveal themselves until tested. Whether it’s serious illness, financial hardship, or the simple constraint of parents who speak limited English, difficulty can tap unexpected strengths.” – Sonia Sotomayor

“Success is 99 percent failure.” – Soichiro Honda

“We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey.” – Kenji Miyazawa

“Hard times don’t create heroes. It is during the hard times when the “hero” within us is revealed.” – Bob Riley

“Adversity introduces a man to himself.” – Albert Einstein

“When you see an obstacle approaching, grab your courage and speed up.” – Angela Lynne Craig

“Obstacles cannot crush me. Every obstacle yields to stern resolve. He who is fixed to a star does not change his mind.” – Leonardo Da Vinci

“Temper us in fire, and we grow stronger. When we suffer, we survive.” – Cassandra Clare

“Jumping at several small opportunities may get us there more quickly than waiting for one big one to come along.” – Hugh Allen

“Everybody ought to do at least two things each day that he hates to do, just for practice.” – William James

“All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me. You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.” – Walt Disney

“In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.” – Thomas Jefferson

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill

“Success in life depends on your desire to keep moving forward despite the odds.” – Lailah Gifty Akita

“The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem.” – Theodore Rubin

“One thing about championship teams is they’re resilient. No matter what is thrown at them, no matter how deep the hole, find a way to bounce back and overcome adversity.” – Nick Saban

“There is a saying in Tibetan, ‘Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength.’ No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful experience is, if we lose our hope, that’s our real disaster.” – Dalai Lama XIV


Inspirational Adversity Quotes

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“Love overcomes obstacles.” – Craig Groeschel

“Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life a champion.” – Muhammad Ali

“Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” – Napoleon Hill

“Anyone can give up; it is the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone would expect you to fall apart, now that is true strength.” – Chris Bradford

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” – Robert F. Kennedy

“I haven’t always acted or reacted in a way that made me proud, but I didn’t make that same mistake twice, and I think that’s what I love about adversity is that it always reminds me of what’s really valuable in life.” – Sandra Bullock

“Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle.” – Napoleon Hill

“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” – Francis of Assisi

“A problem is a chance for you to do your best.” – Duke Ellington

“Sometimes good comes through adversity. I would not be who I am today had it not been for the internment, and I like who I am.” – Ruth Asawa

“The only thing that overcomes hard luck is hard work.” – Harry Golden

“Show me someone who has done something worthwhile, and I’ll show you someone who has overcome adversity.” – Lou Holtz

“Turn your wounds into wisdom.” – Oprah Winfrey

“If you have a dream and you don’t give up no matter what obstacles come up, then life’s problems will fall away and you will get what you want. It happens. It works.” – Yanni

Adversity is a Gift.

“There’s nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of you.” – Woody Hayes

“Prosperity is not without many fears and distates; adversity not without many comforts and hopes.” – Francis Bacon

“The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials.” – Dutch Proverb

“You can’t really be strong until you can see a funny side to things.” – Ken Kesey

“There are some defeats more triumphant than victories.” – Michel de Montaigne

“With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

“I am thankful for all of those who said no to me. It’s because of them I’m doing it myself.” – Albert Einstein

“Yesterday’s mistakes cannot affect today’s possibilities unless you dwell on them.” – Benjamin Lotter

“Obstacles are great incentives.” – Michelet

“The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive.” – J.K. Rowling

“Your willingness to look at your darkness is what empowers you to change.” – Iyanla Vanzant

“There is in every woman’s heart a spark of heavenly fire which lies dormant in the broad daylight of prosperity, but which kindles up and beams and blazes in the dark hour of adversity.” – Washington Irving

“The most successful people see adversity not as a stumbling block, but as a stepping-stone to greatness.” – Shawn Anchor

“I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’” – Muhammad Ali

“Some men see things as they are and say why. I dream things that never were and say why not.” – Bobby Kennedy

“You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water.” – Rabindranath Tagore

“Sometimes adversity is what you need to face in order to become successful.” – Zig Ziglar

“If you’re going through hell, keep going.” – Winston Churchill

“He who believes is strong; he who doubts is weak. Strong convictions precede great actions.” – Louisa May Alcott

“Life’s challenges are not supposed to paralyze you, they’re supposed to help you discover who you are.” – Bernice Johnson Reagon


Adversity Quotes Sports

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“We don’t develop courage by being happy every day. We develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity.”

“Because some people see a wall, and assume that’s the end of their journey. Others see it, and decide it’s just the beginning.” – Angeline Trevena

“If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try.” – Seth Godin

“When you meet obstacles with gratitude, your perception starts to shift, resistance loses its power, and grace finds a home within you.” – Oprah Winfrey

“A new challenge keeps the brain kicking and the heart ticking.” – E. A. Bucchianeri

“You can make mistakes, but you’re not a failure until you start blaming others for those mistakes.” – John Wooden

“Rock bottom became the solid foundation in which I built my life.” – J.K. Rowling

“All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me…. You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.” – Walt Disney

“Adversity has ever been considered the state in which a man most easily becomes acquainted with himself.” – Samuel Jackson

“There will be obstacles. There will be doubters. There will be mistakes. But with hard work, there are no limits.” – Michael Phelps

“It is better to anticipate than to react.” – Bob Knight

“Stand up straight and realize who you are, that you tower over your circumstances.” – Maya Angelou

“The broken heart. You think you will die, but you keep living, day after day after terrible day.” – Charles Dickens

Adversity is like a strong wind. It tears away from us all but the things that cannot be torn, so that we see ourselves as we really are.

“Challenge and adversity are meant to help you know who you are. Storms hit your weakness, but unlock your true strength.” – Roy T. Bennett

“Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” – Theodore Roosevelt

“Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.” – Booker T. Washington

“If you aren’t in over your head, how do you know how tall you are?” – T.S. Eliot

“I don’t run away from a challenge because I am afraid. Instead, I run towards it because the only way to escape fear is to trample it beneath your foot.” – Natalie Comaneci

“Adversity is preparation for greatness.” – Andy Andrews

“You never know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice.” – Bob Marley

“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.” – J.K. Rowling

“Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail.” – Oprah Winfrey

“Brave men rejoice in adversity, just as brave soldiers triumph in war.” – Lucius Annaeus Seneca

“You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.” – Walt Disney

“You’re powerful enough to overcome it all.” – Mitta Xinindlu

“The struggle you’re in today is developing the strength you need for tomorrow. Don’t give up.” – Robert Tew

There's no education like adversity.

Overcoming Adversity Quotes

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“He who doesn’t want to face his challenges shall always face challenges!” – Ernest Agyemang Yeboah

“A man of character finds a special attractiveness in difficulty, since it is only by coming to grips with difficulty that he can realize his potentialities.” – Charles de Gaulle

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” – Winston Churchill

“Our very survival depends on our ability to stay awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant and to face the challenge of change.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

“Sometimes you don’t realize your own strength until you come face to face with your greatest weakness.” – Susan Gale

“Adversity’s sweet milk, philosophy.” – William Shakespeare

“In spite of discouragement and adversity, those who are happiest seem to have a way of learning from difficult times, becoming stronger, wiser and happier as a result.” – Joseph B. Wirthlin

“It’s part of life to have obstacles. It’s about overcoming obstacles; that’s the key to happiness.” – Herbie Hancock

“You win not by chance but by preparation.” – Roger Maris

“Strength doesn’t come from what you can do. It comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn’t.” – Rikkie Rogers

“Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goals.” – Henry Ford

“Most of our obstacles would melt away if instead of cowering before them, we should make up our minds to walk boldly through them.” – Orison Sweet Marden

“Be of good cheer. Do not think of today’s failures, but of the success that may come tomorrow. You have set yourself a difficult task, but you will succeed if you persevere, and you will find a joy in overcoming obstacles.” – Helen Keller

“Turning feelings into words can help us process and overcome adversity.” – Sheryl Sandberg

“Out of difficulties grow miracles.” – Jean de la Bruyere

“Seize every opportunity along the way, for how sad it would be if the road you chose became the road not taken.” – Robert Brault

“Hang on to your hat. Hang on to your hope. And wind the clock, for tomorrow is another day.” – E.B. White

“Never give up, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.” – Harriet Beecher Stowe

“Adversity is the first path to truth.” – Lord Byron

“Do not yield to misfortunes, but meet them on the contrary with fortitude.” – Virgil

“Don’t be distracted by criticism. Remember – the only taste of success some people have is when they take a bite out of you.” – Zig Ziglar

“Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.” – Michael Jordan

“Don’t be afraid to do something you’re not qualified to do.” – Dan Carlin

“Courage is one step ahead of fear.” – Coleman Young

“The chief obstacle to the progress of the human race is the human race.” – Don Marquis

“He who sweats more in training bleeds less in war.” – Greek proverb

“In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.” – Theodore Roosevelt

“The key to life is accepting challenges. Once someone stops doing this, he’s dead.” – Bette Davis

“When we least expect it, life sets up a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back.” – Paulo Coelho

“You have to understand that people have to pay a price for peace. If you dare to struggle, you dare to win.” – Fred Hampton

“Life keeps throwing me stones. And I keep finding the diamonds.” – Ana Claudia Antunes

“The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today.” – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

“Everyone here has the sense that right now is one of those moments when we are influencing the future.” – Steve Jobs

“Keep your fears to yourself, but share your courage with others.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

Adversity can be a strong ally. In my art it's healing.

Strength In Adversity Quotes

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“Chemistry is as important as talent, you constantly have to work at it.” – Lionel Hollins

“I am more than my scars.” – Andrew Davidson, ‘The Gargoyle’

“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.” – Albert Camus

“The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it.” – Moliere

“Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.” – Mahatma Gandhi

“To be tested is good. The challenged life may be the best therapist.” – Gail Sheehy

“It is easier to dig up the past than to save the present – Even though our past actions, have presently dug us in so deep.” – Kyle Fox

“There is no education like adversity.” – Benjamin Disraeli

“The best wisdom comes from the hardest struggle.” – Xavier Rudd

“Prosperity is no just scale; adversity is the only balance to weigh friends.” – Plutarch

“In the middle of a difficulty lies opportunity.” – Albert Einstein

“One who conquers the sea today is ready to conquer the ocean tomorrow.” – Matshona Dhliwayo

“Energy and persistence conquer all things.” – Benjamin Franklin

“The most beautiful people I’ve known are those who have known trials, have known struggles, have known loss, and have found their way out of the depths.” – Elizabeth Kübler-Ross

“The bravest sight in the world is to see a great man struggling against adversity.” – Seneca

“One who gains strength by overcoming obstacles possesses the only strength which can overcome adversity.” – Albert Schweitzer

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” – Maya Angelou

“Yesterday I dared to struggle, today I dare to win.” – Bernadette Devlin

“Being able to see the end result, rather than just the task, eliminates obstacles, focuses your energy, and provides motivation to excel.” – Catherine Pulsifer

“Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.” – Truman Capote

“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to success is more important than any other one thing.” – Abraham Lincoln

“I always did something I was a little not ready to do. I think that’s how you grow. When there’s that moment of ‘Wow, I’m not really sure I can do this,’ and you push through those moments, that’s when you have a breakthrough.” – Marissa Mayer

“All the world is full of suffering. It is also full of overcoming.” – Helen Keller

“A challenge only becomes an obstacle when you bow to it.” – Ray Davis

“Some people will just go with the flow of things and sway in life, while others will fight against the currents and go upstream to reach their destiny.” – Anthony Liccione

“Difficulties strengthen the mind, as labor does the body.” – Lucius Annaeus Seneca

“The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.” – Ernest Hemmingway

“As with the butterfly, adversity is necessary to build character in people.” – Joseph B. Wirthlin

“Fire is the test of gold; adversity, of strong men.” – Martha Graham

“Achieving success is a challenge but so is struggling so you may as well choose success.” – Rob Liano

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle

“Success is performing to the limit of your potential.” – Bob Knight

“Prosperity makes friends, adversity tries them.” – Publilius Syrus

“The true test of a champion is not whether he can triumph but whether he can overcome obstacles.” – Garth Stein

“Take a limitation and turn it into an opportunity. Take an opportunity and turn it into an adventure by dreaming BIG!” – Jo Franz

“To have become a deeper man is the privilege of those who have suffered.” – Oscar Wilde

“I ask not for a lighter burden, but for broader shoulders.” – Jewish Proverb

“Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go.” – William Feather

“My attitude is that if you push me towards something that you think is a weakness, then I will turn that perceived weakness into a strength.” – Michael Jordan


Smile In The Face Of Adversity Quotes

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“You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.” – Marcus Aurelius

“Adversity reveals genius, prosperity conceals it.” – Horace

“I really believe in the old expression that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. It’s through adversity that you find the strength you never knew you had.” – Christie Brinkley

“The annoyance you ignore today only gets worse tomorrow. Solve it now.” – Auliq Ice

“I can be changed by what happens to me, but I refuse to be reduced by it.” – Maya Angelou

“A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.” – Christopher Reeve

“Your big opportunity may be right where you are now.” – Napoleon Hill

“The future rewards those who press on. I don’t have time to feel sorry for myself. I don’t have time to complain. I’m going to press on.” – Barack Obama

“There is no better than adversity. Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance the next time.” – Malcolm X

“Keeping busy and making optimism a way of life can restore your faith in yourself.” – Lucille Ball

“I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.” – Jimmy Dean

“Life always gives us another change: it’s called ‘to move on.’” – Ana Claudia Antunes

“Today’s tears water tomorrow’s gardens.” – Matshona Dhliwayo

“One’s best success comes after their greatest disappointments.” – Henry Ward Beecher

“Life is full of challenges, obstacles, and problems. But learn to face them courageously with joy. Live every moment with happiness and positivity, for we never know.” – Sai Kaustuv

“We acquire the strength we have overcome.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“In times of adversity and change, we really discover who we are and what we’re made of.” – Howard Schultz

“Damaged people are dangerous. They know they can survive.” – Josephine Hart

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” – Hellen Keller

“We become wiser by adversity; prosperity destroys our appreciation of the right.” – Lucius Anneaus Seneca

“Challenges are gifts that force us to search for a new center of gravity. Don’t fight them. Just find a new way to stand.” – Oprah Winfrey

“It is your reaction to adversity, not the adversity itself, that determines how your life story will develop.” – Dieter F. Uchtdorf

“In fact, stories of people of achievement often show that obstacles and struggles are the stepping stones to success.” – Michal Stawicki

“Strength and courage aren’t always measured in medals and victories. They are measured in the struggles they overcome. The strongest people aren’t always the people who win, but the people who don’t give up when they lose.” – Ashley Hodgeson

“If you are facing a new challenge or being asked to do something that you have never done before don’t be afraid to step out. You have more capability than you think you do but you will never see it unless you place a demand on yourself for more.” – Joyce Meyer

“Some fish love to swim upstream. Some people love to overcome challenges.” – Amit Ray, ‘Walking The Path Of Compassion’

“Those who wish to sing, always find a song.” – Swedish Proverb

“A truly strong person does not need the approval of others any more than a lion needs the approval of sheep.” – Vernon Howard

“When times are good, be grateful, and when times are tough, be graceful.” – Dustin Poirier

“Let your joy scream across the pain.” – Terri Guillemets

“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Sometimes just walking through adversity to get to the other side is a sign of strength.

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