140 Fierce Quotes About Overcoming Adversity & Finding Strength

Most of us would agree… conflict, loss, setbacks, and challenges seem abundant these days. And for some, it feels like one thing after another on this crazy journey called life.

So today, explore fearless quotes about overcoming adversity. They can get you through even the toughest of times. Because sometimes a soft nudge is required to continue taking small steps forward.

woman thinking: quotes about thriving in adversity

What is Adversity?

Adversity is anything in life that causes you to stumble. It’s the hard times, the challenges, and the losses.

Best Quotes About Thriving in Adversity

overcoming adversity quotes that will make you attack the day pin

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

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

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

4. “Rock bottom became the solid foundation in which I built my life.” – J.K. Rowling (Check out her book on my list of inspiring reads for women)

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

6. “Adversity causes some men to break; others to break records.” – William Arthur Ward

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

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

9. “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

10. “There is no education like adversity.”

– Benjamin Disraeli

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

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

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

"The most successful people...: best quotes about overcoming adversity

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

15. “Fire is the test of gold. Adversity, of strong men.” – Martha Graham

16. “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

17. “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

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

19. “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

20. “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

21. “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

22. “Turning feelings into words can help us process and overcome adversity.”

– Sheryl Sandberg

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

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

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

26. “Adversity is preparation for greatness.” – Andy Andrews

27. “You can’t calm the storm, so stop trying. What you can do is calm yourself. The storm will pass.” – Timber Hawkeye (Check out this list of self-care ideas for stress)

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

adversity quotes that will inspire and motivate you

*For specific tips on keeping your inspiration up, see: How to Motivate Yourself Every Day and this Free Daily Motivation Checklist

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

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

31. “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

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

33. “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

34. “I can be changed by what happens to me, but I refuse to be reduced by it.” – Maya Angelou (For more self-love, check out these beautiful affirmations and a 30-day challenge)

35. “Out of difficulties grow miracles.”

– Jean de la Bruyere

36. “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

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

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

Related Quote Posts:

Check out the free 2 page self-care kit for ways to show yourself more kindness during hard times. Or see the 59 page self-care planner HERE for more!

Quotes on Facing Challenges

boy writing impossible: quotes on facing challenges

39. “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

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

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

* See quotes to inspire your growth mindset HERE >>

42. “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

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

44. “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.

45. “Always listen to experts. They’ll tell you what can’t be done, and why. Then do it.”

– Robert A. Heinlein

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

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

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

49. “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

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

"A challenge only becomes an obstacle when you bow to it." - Ray Davis: Overcoming adversity quotes

51. “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

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

53. “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

54. “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

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

56. “Conquering any difficulty always gives one a secret joy, for it means pushing back a boundary-line and adding to one’s liberty.”

– Henri Frederic Amiel

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

*To help you face challenges, read this post about naturally boosting your energy and these ways to encourage a growth mindset.

Strength Through Adversity Quotes

woman with leg and fists in the air

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

59. “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

60. “A woman is like a tea bag – you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

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

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

– Robert Tew

63. “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

64. “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

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

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

67. “With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.”

– Eleanor Roosevelt

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

69. “Be strong, be fearless, be beautiful. And believe that anything is possible when you have the right people there to support you.” – Misty Copeland

70. “Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.”

– Mahatma Gandhi

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

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

73. “Life doesn’t get easier or more forgiving, we get stronger and more resilient.” Steve Maraboli

74. “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

75. “Life is very interesting. In the end, some of your greatest pains become your greatest strengths.”– Drew Barrymore

Quotes on Adversity & Resilience

Finally, these quotes help you thrive and give you hope in hard times.

woman with hands in air

76. “In our personal and professional lives, we are constantly hit with one adversity after the other, most of which we have no control over. But the four things we have total control over is how we react, how we adapt, how we breathe, and how we take action.” – Diamond Dallas Page

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

78. “Everyone is handed adversity in life. No one’s journey is easy. It’s how they handle it that makes people unique.” – Kevin Conroy

79. “You should never view your challenges as a disadvantage. Instead, it’s important for you to understand that your experience facing and overcoming adversity is actually one of your biggest advantages.” – Michelle Obama

80. “Just as we develop our physical muscles through overcoming opposition – such as lifting weights – we develop our character muscles by overcoming challenges and adversity.” – Stephen Covey

81. “Goals give you a mark to shoot for and keep you motivated when you face adversity.”  

– Benjamin Watson

82. “Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.” – C.S. Lewis

83. “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

84. “Adversity, similar to lava, appears to destroy everything in its way. But out of the ashes and smoke, new, better, and stronger things emerge that may have not been born in any other way.” Zoe V

85. “Any man can win when things go his way, it’s the man who overcomes adversity that is the true champion.” – Jock Ewing

86. “In times of great stress or adversity, it’s always best to keep busy, to plow your anger and your energy into something positive.” – Lee Iacocca

87. “You’ll never find a better sparring partner than adversity.” –  Golda Meir

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

89. “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

90. “Opportunities to find deeper powers within ourselves come when life seems most challenging.” – Joseph Campbell

91.  “Always seek out the seed of triumph in every adversity.” – Og Mandino

92. “All the world is full of suffering. It is also full of overcoming.”

— Helen Keller

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

94. “Adversity has the same effect on a man that severe training has on the pugilist: it reduces him to his fighting weight.”—Josh Billings

95. “The journey is never ending. There’s always gonna be growth, improvement, adversity; you just gotta take it all in and do what’s right, continue to grow, continue to live in the moment.” – Antonio Brown

96. “Use what you’ve been through as fuel, believe in yourself and be unstoppable!”—Yvonne Pierre

97. “The eagle has no fear of adversity. We need to be like the eagle and have a fearless spirit of a conqueror.” – Joyce Meyer

98. “Good things are often birthed from adversity.” – Robert A. Schuller

99. “Adversity, and perseverance and all these things can shape you. They can give you a value and a self-esteem that is priceless.” – Scott Hamilton

Short Quotes: Through Adversity Comes Strength

plant growing in the desert

100. “I say if I’m beautiful. I say if I’m strong. You will not determine my story—I will.”Amy Schumer, comedian

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

102. “Turn your wounds into wisdom.” – Oprah Winfrey

103. “It is not the weight that destroys you, but the way you carry it.” – Epictetus

104. “Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.”Nora Ephron, writer

105. “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” ― Thomas A. Edison

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

107. “Call me whatever you want. It’s not going to stop me from trying to do the right thing…”Emma Watson, actor

108. “Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.” — Les Brown

109. “Success is never final; failure is never fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.” — Anonymous

110. “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” – Nelson Mandela

111. “It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not.” ― Andre Gide

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

113. “I am not afraid of storms for I am learning how to sail my ship.” – Luisa May Alcott

114. “A really strong woman accepts the war she went through and is ennobled by her scars.”Carly Simon, musical artist

115. “Don’t be pushed around by the fears in your mind. Be led by the dreams in your heart.” ― Roy T. Bennett

116. “Being challenged in life is inevitable, being defeated is optional.” – Roger Crawford

117. “Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald 

118. “In life, you need either inspiration or desperation.” – Tony Robbins

Overcome Adversity With Growth Quotes

These quotes about overcoming adversity also highlight how the hard times help you to grow.

sunset on the mountains

119. “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

120. “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

121. “Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents, which in prosperous circumstances would have lain dormant.” – Horace

122. “When adversity strikes, you have two choices: Let the adversity define, destroy, or strengthen you. Your reaction is what will determine your destiny.” – Serena Williams

123. “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

124. “When obstacles arise, you change your direction to reach your goal; you do not change your decision to get there.” – Zig Ziglar

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

126. “Shoot for the moon because even if you miss, you’ll still end up among the stars.” – Les Brown

adversity and vision board quotes 2024: I never lose

127. “I never lose. I either win or I learn.” – Nelson Mandela

128. “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” – Nelson Mandela

129. “You drown not by falling into the river, but by staying submerged in it.” — Paulo Coelho

130. “The long way is the shortcut.” — Seth Godin

131. “The truth about ourselves is what we choose to believe.” — Niklas Göke

132. “It is your decisions, and not your conditions, that determine your destiny.” — Tony Robbins

133. “The person who makes it is the person who keeps on going after everyone else has quit.” — Jerry Weintraub

134. “Never say never, because limits, like fears, are often just an illusion.” — Michael Jordan 

135. “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve.” — Napoleon Hill

136. “A mistake is only as valuable as the time you spend learning from it.” — Niklas Göke

137. “Sometimes things have to fall apart to make way for better things.” — Ted Mosby

138. “You’re already in pain. You’re already hurt. Use it! Do something with it! Get a reward from it. Allow your pain to push you to greatness.” — Eric Thomas

To Consider With Overcoming Adversity Quotes

Is it through adversity that we find strength?

Of course! While we can find strength in other ways as well, it is through the fires of adversity that our essence is often forged.

What does adversity teach us?

Adversity helps us become aware of our limiting beliefs and actions while also forcing us to adapt or develop new skills. It is in these moments of adversity that we tend to grow the most as a human of character.

How do you get stronger in the midst of adversity?

You get stronger every day that you hold your ground, refusing to give in or give up.

139. “Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.”

― Mary Anne Radmacher

Why is Overcoming Adversity Important?

Adversity is like a fist punch to the stomach. But overcoming hard times is what builds resiliency in us. The speed in which we bounce back from life’s harshest disappointments determines the overall success and happiness we have in life.

Now, most adversity is not easy to come back from. But doing hard things is what being a strong person is all about.

And the benefits of being resilient are a longer life, better health, lower rates of depression, and higher satisfaction in life (source).

So, develop your resiliency now. Start with these quotes about overcoming adversity, facing challenges, and finding strength!

How have you gotten stronger in the midst of adversity?

When I was having children, I lost three babies through miscarriage. While this was devastating, it also helped me become more empathetic, gave me gratitude for the children I was able to bear, and taught me that we all have different burdens to bear. But we get to choose how we carry them too.

How has adversity made you stronger?

quotes about overcoming adversity :climbing a wall

Surprisingly, this article began with Warren Buffett. In reference to the pandemic, he brought up a quote…

140. “Never let a good crisis go to waste.”

Winston Churchill

So, remember this. Whatever crisis and adversity you’re going through, use it. Find the lessons. Find the silver lining. And develop your character to withstand the storm.

You’ll be shocked at your progress and satisfaction when you come out on the other side.

What are your favorite quotes about overcoming adversity?

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