When we’re going through hard times, we’ll reach for anything to help us get through it. Often we reach for stories and wise words from people who have been through similar situations and have come through them and learned from them.
Here are some of the most inspiring quotes from ordinary people who have achieved great success. Despite hardships, they overcame and conquered. Chances are, you will recognize them all.
They left their marks on this world, and some continue to do so today. You can, too.
1. “I believe every human has a finite number of heartbeats. I don’t intend to waste any of mine.” – Neil Armstrong
We all go through rough patches. Things happen that we never expected. Life throws challenges our way we don’t think we are ready for.
Yet we are only part of the earth for so long. If we laid down and covered our heads every time a new challenge came rolling in, we would never be able to truly say we lived a fulfilling life.
2. “Sometimes you can’t see yourself clearly until you see yourself through the eyes of others.” – Ellen DeGeneres
DeGeneres is known for her loyal fan base. She attributes this loyalty to her honesty and transparency, telling Good Housekeeping: “I’m not hiding anything from [my fans].”
If you’re in a place where you feel lost and don’t know where to go or where to call home, be honest. Be honest with yourself and with those around you. They will see you better than you can see yourself, and, like looking through a mirror, that is how you will come to discover who you are.
3. “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
Words really can hurt. Especially if spoken by someone you love. People say and do things that leave deep wounds. It’s hard to recover from that.
Regardless, no one else is allowed to make you feel any less strong, capable or courageous than you are. They don’t have that kind of authority. Don’t let them get to you.
4. “It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” – Charles Darwin
It’s happened to the best of us. You’re just sailing along through smooth waters. Everything is going fine. Then, without warning, the winds change. Your boat sinks. You forget how to swim.
Change happens. Constantly. In our personal and professional lives, we have to learn to be flexible. To go with the flow. If you can tolerate change, you can withstand the fiercest of storms.
5. “All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney
If Walt Disney had given up on his dream because of fear of failure, we wouldn’t have Disney parks or the ever-growing collection of inspirational characters we have come to know and love.
Don’t back down from your ambitions just because someone has told you they’re impossible. Don’t turn away from your dreams because you’re afraid of them. If it scares you, go for it.
6. “You must expect great things of yourself before you can do them.” – Michael Jordan
You might have an entire team of people rallying around you, telling you that all your hard work is going to be worth it. That doesn’t mean anything if you don’t believe, within yourself, you can do it.
Believe you can, and use that to fuel your motivation to keep pushing through the pain or the heartache or the disappointment, or whatever it is that’s keeping you from reaching your full potential.
7. “Failure is another stepping stone to greatness.” – Oprah Winfrey
This billionaire, former talk show host and philanthropist has seen just as much failure as you have. She was fired from her first job as a TV anchor. She started her own network in 2011, after over 20 years of hosting her own show, and low ratings came back like a slap in the face.
After all her success, she failed again. That still hasn’t stopped her yet.
8. “If you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.” – Dolly Parton
Are you at that place in your life where it feels like everyone dumps everything onto you and expects you to handle it? Are you hoping, waiting for something good to happen even though it might never come?
We have to put up with the tough stuff before things can get better. Just think: when you do finally see that rainbow, after all this time, it’s going to look much prettier than it would have if you’d seen it right away.
9. “Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” – Warren Buffett
Maybe you’re at that point in your schooling or career when it feels like you’re running in circles. Working hard with no reward to show for it. Putting all your heart and soul into a project that no one might ever see.
The impact you are leaving on the world might not be very easy to see at first. Or at all. These things take time. That doesn’t mean what you are doing will not, someday, make a difference.
10. “The best revenge is massive success.” – Frank Sinatra
When someone wrongs you, tells you your ideas don’t matter or tries to take away your joy, it’s hard not to think of a way to get back at them for what they’ve done to you. You deserve better than that … don’t you?
Of course you do. The best way to get back at someone for trying to crush your chances of being successful is to become successful anyway. You can do it.
No matter what you’re going through, there are lessons to be learned. There is a bigger picture you cannot always see.
You might feel as though the rain will never stop, but rain clouds don’t last forever. You’ll come out of this stronger and braver and ready to take on the world.
If they can do it, so can you.