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Quotations about Adversity

If you break your neck, if you have nothing to eat, if your house is on fire, then you got a problem. Everything else is inconvenience.
~Robert Fulghum
Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.
~M. Kathleen Casey
If you're going through hell, keep going.
~Winston Churchill
We have no right to ask when sorrow comes, "Why did this happen to me?" unless we ask the same question for every moment of happiness that comes our way.
~Author Unknown
A bend in the road is not the end of the road... unless you fail to make the turn.
~Author Unknown
The robbed that smiles, steals something from the thief.
~William Shakespeare, Othello
I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish that He didn't trust me so much.
~Mother Teresa
The only thing that overcomes hard luck is hard work.
~Harry Golden
We acquire the strength we have overcome.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
You can't run away from trouble. There ain't no place that far.
~Uncle Remus
Enduring habits I hate.... Yes, at the very bottom of my soul I feel grateful to all my misery and bouts of sickness and everything about me that is imperfect, because this sort of thing leaves me with a hundred backdoors through which I can escape from enduring habits.
~Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science, 1882
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
The healthy and strong individual is the one who asks for help when he needs it. Whether he's got an abscess on his knee or in his soul.
~Rona Barrett
Some of God's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.
~Garth Brooks
Some luck lies in not getting what you thought you wanted but getting what you have, which once you have got it you may be smart enough to see is what you would have wanted had you known.
~Garrison Keillor
Who will tell whether one happy moment of love or the joy of breathing or walking on a bright morning and smelling the fresh air, is not worth all the suffering and effort which life implies.
~Erich Fromm
I ask not for a lighter burden, but for broader shoulders.
~Jewish Proverb
Birds sing after a storm; why shouldn't people feel as free to delight in whatever remains to them?
~Rose F. Kennedy
You have come into a hard world. I know of only one easy place in it, and that is the grave.
~Henry Ward Beecher
If you want to forget all your other troubles, wear too tight shoes.
~The Houghton Line, November 1965
Turn your wounds into wisdom.
~Oprah Winfrey
Sometimes the littlest things in life are the hardest to take. You can sit on a mountain more comfortably than on a tack.
~Author Unknown
If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn't lead anywhere.
~Frank A. Clark
As long as you keep getting born, it's alright to die some times.
~Orson Scott Card
We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey.
~Kenji Miyazawa
Bad is never good until worse happens.
~Danish Proverb
It just wouldn't be a picnic without the ants.
~Author Unknown
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 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, Memoirs of a Geisha
When the Japanese mend broken objects, they aggrandize the damage by filling the cracks with gold. They believe that when something's suffered damage and has a history it becomes more beautiful.
~Barbara Bloom
There's a bit of magic in everything, and some loss to even things out.
~Lou Reed, "Magic and Loss"
We turn to God for help when our foundations are shaking, only to learn that it is God who is shaking them.
~Charles C. West
Things are never so bad they can't be made worse.
~From the movie The African Queen
If you don't like something change it; if you can't change it, change the way you think about it.
~Mary Engelbreit
The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem.
~Theodore Rubin
Every path hath a puddle.
~George Herbert, "Jacula Prudentum"
A bad grade is only one letter in the Essay of life.
~Lee Drake
I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing.
~Agatha Christie
Sometimes in tragedy we find our life's purpose - the eye sheds a tear to find its focus.
~Robert Brault, www.robertbrault.com
When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
I believe there are more urgent and honorable occupations than the incomparable waste of time we call suffering.
Sleep, riches, and health to be truly enjoyed must be interrupted.
~Johann Paul Friedrich Richter, Flower, Fruit, and Thorn
Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.
~African Proverb
There is no education like adversity.
We find comfort among those who agree with us - growth among those who don't.
~Frank A. Clark
If you're in a bad situation, don't worry it'll change. If you're in a good situation, don't worry it'll change.
~John A. Simone, Sr.
He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.
~Friedrich Nietzsche
When written in Chinese the word "crisis" is composed of two characters - one represents danger and the other represents opportunity.
~John F. Kennedy, address, 12 April 1959
The problem with troubleshooting is that trouble shoots back.
~Author Unknown
There are some defeats more triumphant than victories.
~Michel de Montaigne
Adversity introduces a man to himself.
~Author Unknown
It's not easy taking my problems one at a time when they refuse to get in line.
~Ashleigh Brilliant
Even our misfortunes are a part of our belongings.
~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Night Flight, 1931, translated from French by Stuart Gilbert
That some good can be derived from every event is a better proposition than that everything happens for the best, which it assuredly does not.
~James K. Feibleman
The soul would have no rainbow had the eyes no tears.
~John Vance Cheney
If you know someone who tries to drown their sorrows, you might tell them sorrows know how to swim.
~Quoted in P.S. I Love You, compiled by H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
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
Defeat may serve as well as victory to shake the soul and let the glory out.
~Edwin Markham
Life didn't promise to be wonderful.
~Teddy Pendergrass
Adversity is the first path to truth.
~Lord Byron
Diseases can be our spiritual flat tires - disruptions in our lives that seem to be disasters at the time but end by redirecting our lives in a meaningful way.
~Bernie S. Siegel
We do survive every moment, after all, except the last one.
~John Updike
Every problem has in it the seeds of its own solution. If you don't have any problems, you don't get any seeds.
~Norman Vincent Peale
Much of your pain is self-chosen.
~Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet, 1923
Do not free a camel of the burden of his hump; you may be freeing him from being a camel.
~Gilbert Keith Chesterton, Orthodoxy, 1909
The difficulties of life are intended to make us better, not bitter.
~Author Unknown
A problem is a chance for you to do your best.
~Duke Ellington
Suffering is above, not below. And everyone thinks that suffering is below. And everyone wants to rise.
~Antonio Porchia, Voces, 1943, translated from Spanish by W.S. Merwin
They say a reasonable amount 'o fleas is good fer a dog - keeps him from broodin' over bein' a dog, mebbe.
~Edward Westcott
Against criticism a man can neither protest nor defend himself; he must act in spite of it, and then it will gradually yield to him.
~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Maxims and Reflections
Life is made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles predominating.
~O. Henry, The Gifts of the Magi
Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.... [A]ccept the seasons of your heart, even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields....
~Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet, 1923
The beauty of the world has two edges, one of laughter, one of anguish, cutting the heart asunder.
~Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own, 1929
I had a lover's quarrel with the world.
~Robert Frost, The Lesson for Today, 1942
I owe much to my friends; but, all things considered, it strikes me that I owe even more to my enemies. The real person springs life under a sting even better than under a caress.
~André Gide
Fortune knocks but once, but misfortune has much more patience.
~Author Unknown
Convert difficulties into opportunities, for difficulties are divine surgeries to make you better.
~Author Unknown
Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents which, in prosperous circumstances, would have lain dormant.
~Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus), Satires
The keenest sorrow is to recognize ourselves as the sole cause of all our adversities.
Have the courage to face a difficulty lest it kick you harder than you bargained for.
~Stanislaus I, Maxims
Sometimes I think my life would make a great TV movie. It even has the part where they say, "Stand by. We are experiencing temporary difficulties."
~Robert Brault, www.robertbrault.com
Perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave.
~Rainer Maria Rilke
Damaged people are dangerous. They know they can survive.
~Josephine Hart
Yes, one must suffer, even in vain, so as not to have lived in vain.
~Antonio Porchia, Voces, 1943, translated from Spanish by W.S. Merwin
Don't cry when the sun is gone, because the tears won't let you see the stars.
~Violeta Parra
There is no ghost so difficult to lay as the ghost of an injury.
~Alexander Smith
Despair is anger with no place to go.
~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1960
In a real dark night of the soul, it is always three o'clock in the morning, day after day.
~F. Scott Fitzgerald
What a pity human beings can't exchange problems. Everyone knows exactly how to solve the other fellow's.
~Olin Miller
Problems are messages.
~Shakti Gawain
I guess if you take away the pain in life it means having no beauty to hope for.
~Daniel, @blindedpoet
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, The Sketch Book, 1820
For fate has wove the thread of life with pain,And twins ev'n from the birth are Misery and Man!
~Homer, Odyssey
People are resilient. After all, every person born has recovered from nine months on life support.
~Robert Brault, www.robertbrault.com
To have become a deeper man is the privilege of those who have suffered.
~Oscar Wilde
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.
A man is insensible to the relish of prosperity 'til he has tasted adversity.
~Sa'di (Musharrif-uddin)
The art of living lies less in eliminating our troubles than in growing with them.
~Bernard M. Baruch
A new wound makes all the old ones ache again.
~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1960
When life gives you a hundred reasons to cry, show life that you have a thousand reasons to smile.
~Author Unknown
Thorns and stings
And those such things
Just make stronger
Our angel wings.

~Terri Guillemet
When life gives you lemons, please, just don't squirt them in other people's eyes.
~J. Andrew Helt
The turning point in the process of growing up is when you discover the core of strength within you that survives all hurt.
~Max Lerner, The Unfinished Country, 1950
God uses suffering as a whetstone, to make men sharp with.
~Henry Ward Beecher
Calamity, n. A more than commonly plain and unmistakable reminder that the affairs of this life are not of our own ordering.
~Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary
There are sufferings that have lost their memory and do not remember why they are suffering.
~Antonio Porchia, Voces, 1943, translated from Spanish by W.S. Merwin
Real pain can alone cure us of imaginary ills. We feel a thousand miseries till we are lucky enough to feel misery.
~Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Everybody ought to do at least two things each day that he hates to do, just for practice.
~William James
Troubles are often the tools by which God fashions us for better things.
~Henry Ward Beecher
He that struggles with us strengthens our nerves, and sharpens our skill. Our antagonist is our helper.
~Edmund Burke, The Revolution in France, 1790
The course of true anything never does run smooth.
~Samuel Butler
Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.
~Steven Kloves, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (movie)
Nothing prevents happiness like the memory of happiness.
~André Gide, L'immoraliste
If the thunder is not loud, the peasant forgets to cross himself.
~Russian Proverb
Pain is sometimes the cost of a meaninful existence. I can handle that.
~Jeb Dickerson, www.howtomatter.com
At times, challenges hit with the force of a roaring, rushing waterfall. The true test, however, is whether you can put your arms up and enjoy the feel of the water.
~Aviva Kaufman
Past and to come, seems best; things present, worse.
~William Shakespeare, Henry IV
During the darkest indigo midnight, yet will countless stars blossom.
~Dr. SunWolf
People don't ever seem to relate that doing what's right is no guarantee against misfortune.
~William McFee, Casuals of the Sea, 1916
Prosperity is a great teacher; adversity is a greater.
~William Hazlitt
Allow yourself a moment of grief when life's misfortunes visit you. However, do not spend your days building a monument in honor of them.
~Dodinsky, www.dodinsky.com
Better to lose count while naming your blessings than to lose your blessings to counting your troubles.
~Maltbie D. Babcock
I bear a little more than I can bear.
~Elinor Hoyt Wylie, Angels and Earthly Creatures. One Person. Sonnet XVI
Every evil is some good spelt backwards, and in it the wise know how to read Wisdom.
~Coventry Patmore
May you get what you wish for.
~Old Chinese Curse
You'll never find a better sparring partner than adversity.
~Walt Schmidt
Watch a man in times of... adversity to discover 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.
~Lucretius, On the Nature of Things
"The horror of that moment," the King went on, "I shall never, never forget!" "You will, though," the Queen said, "if you don't make a memorandum of it.
~Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass, 1872
Perhaps everything terrible is in its deepest being something helpless that wants help from us.
~Rainer Maria Rilke
When life takes the wind out of your sails, it is to test you at the oars.
~Robert Brault, www.robertbrault.com
Sometimes it's worse to win a fight than to lose.
~Billie Holiday
If we will be quiet and ready enough, we shall find compensation in every disappointment.
~Henry David Thoreau
Human suffering, while it is asleep, is shapeless. If it is wakened it takes the form of the waker.
~Antonio Porchia, Voces, 1943, translated from Spanish by W.S. Merwin
There are times in everyone's life when something constructive is born out of adversity... when things seem so bad that you've got to grab your fate by the shoulders and shake it.
~Author Unknown
Prosperity is not without many fears and distastes, and adversity is not without comforts and hopes.
~Francis Bacon
The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.
~Norman Vincent Peale
It is better to drink of deep griefs than to taste shallow pleasures.
~William Hazlitt, Characteristics, 1823
Better bread with water than cake with trouble.
~Russian Proverb
Problems are only opportunities with thorns on them.
~Hugh Miller, Snow on the Wind
The darkest hour has only sixty minutes.
~Morris Mandel
The gem cannot be polished without friction nor man without trials.
God gave burdens, also shoulders.
~Yiddish Proverb
But ah! disasters have their use;
And life might e'en be too sun-shiny.

~Charles Stuart Calverley, Disaster, after Moore, stanza 5
There is something beautiful about all scars of whatever nature. A scar means the hurt is over, the wound is closed and healed, done with.
~Harry Crews
When suffering comes, we yearn for some sign from God, forgetting we have just had one.
~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1960
Man performs and engenders so much more than he can or should have to bear. That's how he finds that he can bear anything.
~William Faulkner
Would you touch a nettle without being stung by it? take hold of it stoutly. Do the same to other annoyances, and hardly will any thing annoy you.
~Augustus William Hare and Julius Charles Hare, Guesses at Truth, by Two Brothers, 1827
We shall draw from the heart of suffering itself the means of inspiration and survival.
~Winston Churchill
It is always in the midst, in the epicenter, of your troubles that you find serenity.
~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Wartime Writings 1939-1944, translated from French by Norah Purcell
Tragedy is restful: and the reason is that hope, that foul, deceitful thing, has no part in it.
~Jean Anouilh, Antigone, 1942
Happy is the man who can endure the highest and lowest fortune. He who has endured such vicissitudes with equanimity has deprived misfortune of its power.
My strength is made perfect in weakness.
~II Corinthians
Problems are the price you pay for progress.
~Branch Rickey
When you're feeling your worst, that's when you get to know yourself the best.
~Leslie Grossman
The dark and the light are braided and bound.
~Marc Ian Barasch
Happiness is beneficial for the body but it is grief that develops the powers of the mind.
~Marcel Proust, The Past Recaptured, Remembrance of Things Past
Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.
~Bill Gates, Business @ the Speed of Thought
The art of living lies less in eliminating our troubles than in growing with them.
~Bernard M. BaruchLike a plant that starts up in showers and sunshine and does not know which has best helped it to grow, it is difficult to say whether the hard things or the pleasant things did me the most good.
~Lucy Larcom
If all misfortunes were laid in one common heap whence everyone must take an equal portion, most people would be contented to take their own and depart.
Men grow tired of sleep, love, singing and dancing sooner than of war.
~Homer, Iliad
There's nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of you.
~Woody Hayes
It is foolish to tear one's hair in grief, as though sorrow would be made less by baldness.
Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.
~Truman Capote
No man ought to lay a cross upon himself, or to adopt tribulation, as is done in popedom; but if a cross or tribulation come upon him, then let him suffer it patiently, and know that it is good and profitable for him.
~Martin Luther
Flowers never emit so sweet and strong a fragrance as before a storm. When a storm approaches thee, be as fragrant as a sweet-smelling flower.
~Jean Paul Richter
Having is not so pleasing a thing as wanting, it may not be logical but it is often true.
~Mr. Spock, Star Trek
I have woven a parachute out of everything broken.
~William Stafford
I have heard there are troubles of more than one kind.
Some come from ahead and some come from behind.
But I've bought a big bat. I'm all ready you see.
Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!

~Dr. Seuss
The misfortunes of mankind are of varied plumage.
~Aeschylus, The Suppliant Maidens
I don't like people who have never fallen or stumbled. Their virtue is lifeless and it isn't of much value. Life hasn't revealed its beauty to them.
~Boris Pasternak
We must try not to sink beneath our anguish... but battle on.
~J.K. Rowling
To be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness.
~Bertrand Russell
Mishaps are like knives, that either serve us or cut us, as we grasp them by the blade or the handle.
~James Russell Lowell, "Cambridge Thirty Years Ago," Literary Essays
Bygone troubles are good to tell.
~Yiddish Proverb
The cold is a good counselor, but it is cold.
~Antonio Porchia, Voces, 1943, translated from Spanish by W.S. Merwin
Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.
~Winston Churchill
Rock bottom is good solid ground, and a dead end street is just a place to turn around.
~Buddy Buie and J.R. Cobb, "Rock Bottom" (song)
If the wind will not serve, take to the oars.
~Latin Proverb
We look before and after,
And pine for what is not;
Our sincerest laughter
With some pain is fraught;
Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought.

~Percy Bysshe Shelley, "Ode to a Sky Lark"
In this world there are only two tragedies. One is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.
~Oscar Wilde, Lady Windemere's Fan, 1896
Count the garden by the flowers, never by the leaves that fall. Count your life with smiles and not the tears that roll.
~Author Unknown
How can something bother you if you won't let it?
~Terri Guillemets
Poverty, Frost, Famine, Rain, Disease, are the beadles and guardsmen that hold us to Common Sense.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Adversity has the same effect on a man that severe training has on the pugilist: it reduces him to his fighting weight.
~Josh Billings
In our nature, however, there is a provision, alike marvelous and merciful, that the sufferer should never know the intensity of what he endures by its present torture, but chiefly by the pang that rankles after it.
~Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter
But ne'er the rose without the thorn.
~Robert Herrick
You never know what you've got until it's gone.
~Author Unknown
That was rough.... Thing to do now is try and forget it.... I guess I don't quite mean that. It's not a thing you can forget. Maybe not even a thing you want to forget.... Life's like that sometimes... Now and then for no good reason a man can figure out, life will just haul off and knock him flat, slam him agin' the ground so hard it seems like all his insides is busted. But it's not all like that. A lot of it's mighty fine, and you can't afford to waste the good part frettin' about the bad. That makes it all bad.... Sure, I know - sayin' it's one thing and feelin' it's another. But I'll tell you a trick that's sometimes a big help. When you start lookin' around for something good to take the place of the bad, as a general rule you can find it.
~From the movie Old Yeller
God brings men into deep waters, not to drown them, but to cleanse them.
~John Aughey
Let me embrace thee, sour adversity, for wise men say it is the wisest course.
~William Shakespeare
There are two things that one must get used to or one will find life unendurable: the damages of time and injustices of men.
~Nicolas Chamfort