20 Adversity Quotes To Help You Overcome Challenges

Published by: Carolyn Brooks Fleming on Apr 2, 2020.

homeless man holding sign


Challenges come in many forms. But one thing is always constant: You can only overcome challenges if you try. A lot of people are scared to fail or scared it won't come out the way they planned. But there's a lot of positives in challenges. Famous Quotes has some quotes to help you better understand what these positives might be.



«The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it.»

Sometimes the challenges ahead of you can seem difficult to overcome. Instead of thinking about how easy it would be to give up or fail, think about how satisfying it would be to not just tackle it, but come out victorious.


Robert Kennedy

"Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly."

People back away from challenges because they are afraid of failure. You've probably read a similar quote on Famous Quotes before — but it's because it's so true: You will never reach success if you're not willing to take that leap and risk failing. And you might fail along the way. But you'll learn. You'll overcome. And you'll always come out better than you before.


Ana Claudia Antunes

"Life keeps throwing me stones. And I keep finding the diamonds."

Poet and author Ana Claudia Antunes has a lot of good quotes — and this is one of them. Obstacles may be thrown at you. Things may get in your way. But instead of getting frustrated or giving up, try to see the positives hidden within each challenge. What adventure will you be led on? What new thing will you discover about yourself? What will you learn? 

man in wheelchair holding on to girlfriend

Charles Dickens

"The broken heart. You think you will die, but you keep living, day after day after terrible day."

One of the toughest things to go through can be heartbreak. In fact, it's been proven that love is an addiction and breaking it can be the hardest challenge you ever face. But just remember that life goes on. Yes, some days will be difficult. But as you keep pushing onward, new things will come your way. Along the way, you might even forget about whats-her-name anyway.


Barbara De Angelis

"You don't develop courage by being happy every day. You develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity."

You know what? Things are not supposed to be easy. Sometimes things are tough. You don't grow stronger or braver by taking the easy way out or avoiding the things that make you uncomfortable. Even though something may seem difficult at the time, getting through it will only make you stronger when it comes to take on the next challenge.

a cross under purple and blue skies

Lou Holtz

"Show me someone who has done something worthwhile, and I'll show you someone who has overcome adversity."

You can't get more motivational than a football coach, especially one who used to be a professional football player. Think about it: Most of the movies you've seen, the artwork you've admired, the video games you've enjoyed… All of those have come from blood, sweat, and tears. They've run into challenges along the way to create these things. They've worked overtime. They've been told no time and time again. It's that drive to overcome those obstacles that makes something even greater.


Malcom X

"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."

Instead of looking at your failures or mistakes as something to be ashamed of, why not embrace them? Embrace everything you once wanted to desperately forget. It's in those moments where you will realize your strength and what it takes to push forward. It's only when you don't let your mistakes help you improve that they become the actual burden you believe them to be.


Chinese Proverb

"The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials."

You're not going to come out of the gate being perfect. You are going to make mistakes. You are going to find flaws in what you did. You are going to fail. But all of these moments are what truly builds up who you are as a person. They're what form you into the man — or woman — you need to be to finally succeed.


Angeline Travena

"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 Travena may be most well known for her horror novels, but Famous Quotes knows her more for her inspirational quotes. Like this one. Think of challenges not as something to block you, but as something to inspire you to push yourself even more. This will set you apart from the people who cannot overcome their negative mindset. You will only come out of it stronger.

empty desert road with a view of the mountains

Nadia Comaneci

"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."

You might want to back down from a challenge because it scares you. You don't want to fail. You don't want to get hurt. You don't want to be let down. But the only way to overcome that fear is to tackle the challenge anyway. Not only will you come out stronger, but the next challenge will be even easier to take on.


Joyce Meyer

"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."

Christian author Joyce Meyer has some wise words for those that are facing a challenge they must overcome: Believe in yourself. You are more capable than you give yourself credit for, but you'll never know the full extent of your capabilities if you don't go for it. You have to be the one to truly challenge yourself.


E. A. Bucchianeri

"A new challenge keeps the brain kicking and the heart ticking."

Here's another author with some words of encouragement. It's important to remember the benefits of taking on challenges. It's not always just the outcome that matters, but what it does for you as a person, mentally and physically.


Helen Keller

"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 was blind, deaf, and mute. But that didn't stop her from coming up with her own way of communicating. It most likely didn't happen overnight. You can't give up just because of a setback that happened today. Instead, learn from it and push yourself even harder tomorrow. When you start thinking of failure as a lesson in how to succeed, you'll begin to realize how much you truly know and how much you are capable of.


Seth Godin

"If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try."

Are you afraid of what the outcome might be? Are you afraid of what will happen if it doesn't go your way? A lot of people are afraid of the unknown, of things they can't control. Instead of backing away, look at it as a motivator to take on a challenge head on. Tell yourself what you want the outcome to be and what it will take to get there. And then do it!

don't give up signs

Swedish Proverb

"Those who wish to sing, always find a song."

If there's a will, there's a way. Even if something seems impossible, or the obstacles you face are difficult, you will always find a way to push through it if you truly want to. Even if it's not the way you initially envisioned, you will always be able to solve a problem or work through an issue if you have the right attitude and determination.


Ernest Hemingway

"The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places."

This is something important to keep in mind when facing a challenge: You're not alone. Other people have gone through similar struggles. Almost everyone has tasted defeat, failed in some way, lost something or someone. It's up to you what you do with that struggle. Some people may choose to stay defeated. But others will use it to learn more about themselves, about the challenge at hand, and how to overcome it.


Marcus Aurelius

"You have power over your mind - not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength."

Even though you couldn't have predicted this obstacle or changed the outcome of an event, you can still rise above it with the right mindset. Being laid off was not something you could control — but picking yourself back up, brushing off your resume, and reflecting on all you've learned about yourself definitely is.


Christopher Reeve

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

Christopher Reeve is most well known for his role as DC superhero, Superman. Even though Superman is invincible and has every power known to humanity, Reeve is just a regular, mortal man in real life. A mortal man who knows what a true hero is. It's not a guy in a suit and cape. No, a hero is someone who doesn't see an obstacle as a chance to give up, but instead an opportunity to overcome. It's someone who never gives up and comes out stronger than ever before. Just don't expect laser vision.

person holding a mickey mouse coffee mug

Walt Disney

"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."

It's true: You most likely will not feel empowered when you are being knocked down. But sometimes those challenges are just what we need to realize our true strength within. You'd be amazed at what you can do when you push yourself. First, you just need that push. You'll most likely discover a new sense of admiration for yourself, your adaptability, your courage, or even some skills you never knew you had.


Ken Kesey

"You can't really be strong until you can see a funny side to things."

You have to be able to laugh at yourself and your situation. It's all about seeing things in a new perspective. It's about finding the courage to smile even when things seem tough. It's about feeling optimistic even when the obstacles are holding you back. If you stay positive, you'll never lose that inner strength. And you'll push through.

student smiling near building


It can be hard when things don't go your way. Maybe you got laid off. Or maybe your significant other left you. Maybe you got an email saying the project has completely changed and you have to start all over. No matter what the challenge is, you will overcome it with the right mindset. It's all about staying positive, learning from your mistakes, and seeing challenges as a way to push yourself and make yourself even stronger.

And if you ever need more motivation, stop by Famous Quotes for even more words of wisdom from authors, celebrities, and other successful people who have had their own set of challenges to get where they are today.