110 Adversity Quotes to Help You Overcome Difficult Times

80 Adversity Quotes to Help You Overcome Tough Times

We all face difficult times and setbacks from time to time. That's just a part of life. But how we handle it makes all the difference.

So in today's post I’d like to share the best quotes on adversity. 

Timeless thoughts from the past 2000+ years about how to deal with and overcome adversity and tough times but also about what the benefits of adversity in life are.

I hope these thoughts and advice will be as helpful for you as they have been for me in the past few years.

And if you want more inspirational quotes and motivation then have a look at this post about dealing with the Humpday slump and check out this one filled with quotes about inner peace.

Inspiring Overcoming Adversity Quotes

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

“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

“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

“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

“Never lose hope. Storms make people stronger and never last forever.”
Roy T. Bennett

“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.”
Arthur Golden

“The extent of the struggle determines the extent of the growth. The obstacle is an advantage, not adversity. The enemy is any perception that prevents us from seeing this.”
Ryan Holiday

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

“There is no education like adversity.”

“Facing it, always facing it, that’s the way to get through. Face it.”
Conrad Joseph

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

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

“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

“Adversity is always the partner of progress.”
John C. Maxwell

“When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.”
Henry Ford

“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

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

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

“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

Adversity Quotes to Make You Smarter and Stronger

“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

“The moment we believe that success is determined by an ingrained level of ability as opposed to resilience and hard work, we will be brittle in the face of adversity.”
Joshua Waitzkin

“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

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

“If the road is easy, you're likely going the wrong way.”
Terry Goodkind

“Sometimes bad things have to happen before good things can.”
Becca Fitzpatrick

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

“There is in every true 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

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

“Everyone wants to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.”
Oprah Winfrey

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

“It is in the whole process of meeting and solving problems that life has meaning. Problems are the cutting edge that distinguishes between success and failure. Problems call forth our courage and our wisdom; indeed, they create our courage and our wisdom. It is only because of problems that we grow mentally and spiritually. It is through the pain of confronting and resolving problems that we learn.”
M. Scott Peck

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

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
Winston S. Churchill

“Tough times never last, but tough people do.”
Robert H. Schuller

Patience is the calm acceptance that things can happen in a different order than the one you have in your mind.”
David G. Allen

Uplifting Adversity Quotes to Help You Grow as a Person

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

”Spend eighty percent of your time focusing on the opportunities of tomorrow rather than the problems of yesterday.”
Brian Tracy

“You don't drown by falling in the water; you drown by staying there.”
Edwin Louis Cole

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

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

“When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.”
Harriet Beecher Stowe

“Often those that criticise others reveal what he himself lacks.”
Shannon L. Alder

“Sweet are the uses of adversity which, like the toad, ugly and venomous, wears yet a precious jewel in his head.”
William Shakespeare

“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.”
Randy Pausch

“At any given moment you have the power to say: This is not how the story is going to end.”
Christine Mason Miller

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

“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

“Character consists of what you do on the third and fourth tries.”
James A. Michener

We face up to awful things because we can't go around them, or forget them. The sooner you say ‘Yes, it happened, and there's nothing I can do about it,' the sooner you can get on with your own life. You've got children to bring up. So you've got to get over it. What we have to get over, somehow we do. Even the worst things.”
Annie Proulx

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

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”
Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

“So it is more useful to watch a man in times of peril, and in adversity to discern what kind of man he is; for then at last words of truth are drawn from the depths of his heart, and the mask is torn off, reality remains.”

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

“It is a common experience that a problem difficult at night is resolved in the morning after the committee of sleep has worked on it.”
John Steinbeck

“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.”
Anne Bradstreet

“If one dream should fall and break into a thousand pieces, never be afraid to pick one of those pieces up and begin again.”
Flavia Weedn

“The oak fought the wind and was broken, the willow bent when it must and survived.”
Robert Jordan

“Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.”
Theodore Roosevelt

The most essential factor is persistence – the determination never to allow your energy or enthusiasm to be dampened by the discouragement that must inevitably come.”
James Whitcomb Riley

“Most of us, swimming against the tides of trouble the world knows nothing about, need only a bit of praise or encouragement – and we will make the goal.”
Jerome Fleishman

Short Adversity Quotes

“Difficulties strengthen the mind, as labor does the body.”

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

“A happy life consists not in the absence, but in the mastery of hardships.”
Helen Keller

“In this world, fear has no place. Only strength respects strength.”
Abdul Kalam

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

“Your dream doesn’t have an expiration date. Take a deep breath and try again.”

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

“It takes no more time to see the good side of life than to see the bad.”
Jimmy Buffett

“Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it’s always your choice.”
Wayne Dyer

“When the going gets tough, put one foot in front of the other and just keep going. Don’t give up.”
Roy T. Bennett

“Problems are not stop signs, they are guidelines.”
Robert Schuller

“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”
Henry Ford

“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.”
Michael Jordan

Adversity Quotes About Dealing with Failure and Setbacks

“Remind thyself, in the darkest moments, that every failure is only a step toward success, every detection of what is false directs you toward what is true, every trial exhausts some tempting form of error, and every adversity will only hide, for a time, your path to peace and fulfillment. ”
Og Mandino

“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

“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Part of being a man is learning to take responsibility for your successes and for your failures. You can’t go blaming others or being jealous. Seeing somebody else’s success as your failure is a cancerous way to live.”
Kevin Bacon

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

“A man may fail many times but he isn’t a failure until he begins to blame somebody else.”
John Burroughs

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

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.”
Samuel Beckett

“All events are blessings given to us to learn from.”
Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

“Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.”
Richard Branson

“Remember that failure is an event, not a person.”
Zig Ziglar

“Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead-end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.”
Denis Waitley

“Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising every time we fail.”

“Failure isn’t fatal, but failure to change might be.”
John Wooden

“Children have a lesson adults should learn, to not be ashamed of failing, but to get up and try again. Most of us adults are so afraid, so cautious, so ‘safe,' and therefore so shrinking and rigid and afraid that it is why so many humans fail. Most middle-aged adults have resigned themselves to failure.”
Malcolm X

“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

“One of the most powerful tips for overcoming adversity is to seek support from someone close to you. Talk it over with them and let them ground you in reality and then the two of you can come up with a sensible step by step plan for improving your situation.”

“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

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

“When you feel like giving up the fight and going home, hold on for just a bit more. If you can stand adversity for just a little longer then things will turn around. For it is darkest before the dawn.”

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

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

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

“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

“Adversity introduces a man to himself.”
Albert Einstein

“When adversity strikes, that’s when you have to be the most calm. Take a step back, stay strong, stay grounded and press on.”
LL Cool J

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

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

“Adversity will not last forever. Even if it may feel like that sometimes. So hold on and your winds will change.”

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

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

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

“Adversity is often, in hindsight, a positive thing. Because it does not only build inner strength. It sometimes also teaches you a lesson or gives you an insight that will serve you for the rest of your life.”

“If you live long enough, you’ll make mistakes. But if you learn from them, you’ll be a better person. It’s how you handle adversity, not how it affects you. The main thing is never quit, never quit, never quit.”
Bill Clinton

“Overcoming adversity is a part of life that no one can avoid. So face it instead of shying away when it pops up in your life to get through that tough part quicker.”

“If you set your goals ridiculously high and it’s a failure, you will fail above everyone else’s success.”
James Cameron

“Most great people have attained their greatest success just one step beyond their greatest failure.”
Napoleon Hill

“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

If you liked these adversity quotes and they helped you out then share them with family or a friend via email or on social media.

Want even more motivation to help you with challenging adversity and overcoming obstacles? Have a look at this post filled with quotes on having a bad day and this one about the better days that lie ahead.

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About the Author

Henrik Edberg is the creator of the Positivity Blog and has written weekly articles here since 2006. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Gothenburg and has been featured on Lifehack, The Huffington Post and Paulo Coelho’s blog. Click here to learn more…

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Thank you for sharing qoutes! Great quotes.

  • NCC

    Stunning assortment of persuasive idea. This filled me with Positive energy and I am brimming with inspiration now. Much obliged for giving such considerations of various individuals of their time.

  • I agree with Confucius
    “Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising every time we fail.”

    Adversity can’t stop us if we rise every time and keep moving forward.
    Khun Greg

  • I love motivational quotes. And those that show that struggle is required to achieve anything great really inspires me! Thanks for taking the time it took to gather and record each of these.