We all have them.

Difficult times.

It could be the pandemic, marriage, health, wealth, or just a rainy day.

The more we focus on what’s not right, the more we find what’s not right.

It’s a self-fulfilling, downward spiral we need to climb out of.

Those are the moments we need to remember, as Thoreau said, “the sun rose clear.”

If you are struggling to get started or overcome some real (or imaginary) roadblock. This will help.

Here are my favorite inspirational quotes for when times are tough. Like a vitamin for your mind, these are good medicine to keep you strong.

Storms will come your way – that’s life. We’ve all been there and we will again. And when you stand on the shoulders of giants it’s possible to see your way through.

Getting started

1.We can’t all, and some of us don’t. That’s all there is to it. – Eeyore, A. A. Milne

2. It’s good to do uncomfortable things. It’s weight training for life.” – Anne Lamott, humorist, author, Bird by Bird

Anne Lamott

3. I’m starting with the man in the mirror. – Michael Jackson

4. Once you make the decision the universe conspires to make it happen. – Emerson

5. We don’t rise to our level of expectations, we fall to our level of training. – Archilochus, Greek stoic

6. Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light. – J.K. Rowling, author

J.K. Rowling

7. I shall be telling this with a sigh. Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference. – Robert Frost, poet, author The Road Less Taken

8. Try not. Do. Or do not. There is no try. – Yoda.


9. Whatever you do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius and power and magic in it. – Goethe, 19th-century writer.


10. To the mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders. – Lao Tzu, Chinese philosopher

11. No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. – Aesop, Greek storyteller

12. The way to happiness is actually quite simple; the secret is to learn to want what you have and not want what you don’t have. – Buddha

13. When you walk with purpose you collide with destiny. – Bertice Berry, sociologist, author, Redemption Song

Bertrice Berry

14. There is real magic in enthusiasm. It spells the difference between mediocrity and accomplishment. – Norman Vincent Peale

15. We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are. – Anaïs Nin, author

16. It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities. – Professor Dumbledore, J.K. Rowling

17. It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so. – Mark Twain

Mark Twain


18. What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for a worthwhile goal, a freely chosen task. – Viktor E. Frankl, Holocaust survivor; author of Man’s Search for Meaning

19. A ship in harbor is safe — but that is not what ships are built for. – John A. Shedd

20. Know your goal, make a plan, and pull the trigger. – Phil C. McGraw, TV personality, author

Phil C. McGraw

21. The best way to predict the future is to create it. – Abraham Lincoln

22. Give me a stock clerk with a goal and I’ll give you a man who will make history. Give me a man with no goals and I’ll give you a stock clerk. J. C. Penney

23. It’s never too late to be what you might have been. – George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans), author

24. Everybody has their own private Mount Everest they were put on this earth to climb. – Hugh Macleod, advertising copywriter, author Ignore Everybody

25. If you have more than 3 priorities then you don’t have any. – Jim Collins, researcher, author

James C. Collins

26. A goal properly set is halfway reached. – Abraham Lincoln

27. Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself. – G.B. Shaw

28. There is a difference between knowing the path and walking the path. – Morpheus, The Matrix


29. When you are hunting elephants, don’t get distracted chasing rabbits. – T. Boone Pickens, financier

30. You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf. – Jon Kabat-Zinn, professor, author, Wherever you go, there you are.

Jon Kabat-Zinn

31. It’s better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. – Chinese Proverb

32. Remember one rule of thumb: the more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it. – Steven Pressfield, author

33. “I am convinced that life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent how I react to it. – Charles Swindell, pastor, author

34. There are two kinds of people: those who finish what they start, and so on. – Robert Byrne, author

35. Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising every time we fall. – Thomas Carlyle, British historian, and author

36. Mountains inspire leaders, but valleys mature them. – Churchill

37. If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop digging. – Will Rogers, humorist, actor

38. Success is never final, failure is never fatal. It’s courage that counts. – John Wooden

John Wooden

39. …everything can be taken from us but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances – to choose one’s own way. – Victor Frankl


40. My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style. – Maya Angelou, poet, author, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

41. Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it. – Salvador Dali

42. Never mistake activity for achievement. – John Wooden, Basketball Hall of Fame player and coach.

43. To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming is the only end in life. – R.L. Stevenson, Scottish novelist, poet, and author, Treasure Island

Robert L. Stevenson

44. Nobody ever drowned in his own sweat. – Ann Landers

45. Luck is a matter of preparation meeting opportunity. – Oprah

46. Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else. – Judy Garland, actress

47. The world is full of mediocre me-toos and does not need another one. Be so good they can’t ignore you. – Steve Martin, humorist, author, Born Standing Up

Steve Martin

48. It’s kind of fun to do the impossible. – Walt Disney

49. We don’t beat the Reaper by living longer. We beat the Reaper by living well. – Randy Pausch, professor, author The Last Lecture

50. Without conscious and deliberate effort, inertia always wins. – Tony Hsieh, founder of Zappos, author: Delivering Happiness

51. You can’t talk your way out of what you’ve behaved yourself into. – Stephen Covey, author, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

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How to write your first round up post

Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash