Life can be extremely challenging at times, making us feel as though there is no relief to the struggles that plague us at various stages in life.
It is comforting to know that trouble will not last forever, and that there are others out there who have triumphed in the face of adversity.
We can also find solace in knowing that there are others in the world who understand what we are facing, and who can offer words of hope to help us through even the worst trials and tribulations.
1. On Courage
“We don’t develop courage by being happy every day. We develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity.” – Barbara De Angelis
Life is not always smooth sailing.
The most courageous people are not those who always avoid hard times, but those who meet those challenges head on and make it through, stronger and wiser than before.
Often, we feel as though life’s problems are more than we can handle. It is through facing these problems and fighting through them that we develop courage—the courage to handle problems that may arise later in life.
Courage is not an absence of fear or challenge. It is the perseverance in spite of the fear.
You can face the challenges that are thrown your way, or you can hide from them.
That being said, you can let the challenges consume you and destroy your life, or you can tackle them, knocking them out and not letting them stop you from achieving your goals.
When you are the kind of person who dares to face all that life throws at you, you develop courage and strength.
Developing courage is a skill. It requires facing fear head on and pressing on despite odds that are not in our favor.
Suggested reading: “Profiles in Courage,” by John F. Kennedy
2. Loss and Grief
“Deep grief sometimes is almost like a specific location, a coordinate on a map of time. When you are standing in that forest of sorrow, you cannot imagine that you could ever find your way to a better place. But if someone can assure you that they themselves have stood in that same place, and now have moved on, sometimes this will bring hope” – Elizabeth Gilbert
To experience grief can be overwhelming.
It may seem as though the pain is unending, and there is no way you can ever recover from it.
You may feel engulfed in it.
Rest assured that others have stood where you stand, and have survived.
You too can survive.
Humans fear and avoid pain at all costs.
But sometimes, we forget that pain is not permanent.
We are often stronger than we realize, and through our pain and grief, we can find strength.
One of the main things that keeps us in a state of anxiety and grief is our thoughts.
Our negative thoughts about our situation can consume us.
Keeping busy and channeling those thoughts into constructive projects helps us to deal with our grief in a healthy way.
Sometimes, in the midst of our pain, people will tell us to “get over it and move on.”
But there is no timeline of grief.
There is no limit on how long we can feel pain and sorrow.
It may never go away, but you can find joy in life, despite the loss.
Don’t feel guilty about finding joy in life after tragedy.
There is no shame in being happy in your life after a loss.
Laughter is cleansing, and it is necessary to get through even the most horrific tragedies in life.
Moving on does not mean you don’t care, it’s just a way to acknowledge that life goes on.
Recommended Reading: “On Grief and Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief Through the Five Stages of Loss,” by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
3. Perseverance in Spite of Failure
“Next to trying and winning, the best thing is trying and failing.” – L.M. Montgomery
When we want something bad enough, we will find a way to get it.
When we don’t, we allow trials and tribulations to keep us from our goals.
Brick walls are not permanent obstacles in life.
They are there to force you to climb them, get over them and persevere in spite of them.
Doing the easy thing is simple.
To avoid risks and hide from challenges.
But where does that get you?
If you want to go far in life, to enjoy the things that seem impossible, you have to take the hard road and face a few obstacles along the way.
It doesn’t matter how many times you fall; it matters how many times you get up.
Keep getting back on your feet, no matter how many times you fail.
There is no shame in failing, so brush yourself off, get back up and try again.
Growth brings with it a certain amount of discomfort.
It is inevitable.
But failure is a part of growth. When babies learn to walk, the fall constantly.
But they don’t fear their failure.
They keep getting up and trying until they get it right.
Work through the pain and advance to the next stage.
The real test of your grit is your ability to push through times of trouble.
Use these struggles to develop your bravery.
Reflect on your choices and use them to guide your life.
Everyone can rejoice when they win.
Few people, however, rejoice when they fail.
Failure is not the end, it is a way to learn and grow, to make different and more informed choices next time.
Don’t fear failure, because failure allows us to bounce back stronger and wiser.
Recommended reading: “The Up Side of Down: Why Failing is the Key to Success,” Megan McArdle
4. On the Power of Positive Thinking
“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” – Charles R. Swindoll
Things happen in life.
Sometimes people don’t treat us the way we should be treated.
Sometimes we fail at things that we should have mastered.
Life is not easy for most people.
There will be tragedies, heartbreaks and injustices.
But how we react to those things make all of the difference in the course of our lives.
We can become stronger and more resilient, or we can fall to pieces and collapse under the weight of our life’s circumstances.
The choice is ours.
You may not be able to control what happens to you, but you can control how you feel about them.
Once you realize this, you will be able to handle whatever life throws at you.
Your thoughts control your actions, which control the direction of your life.
You will feel like a perpetual victim, never satisfied with the circumstances of your life.
If, however, you fill your mind with positive affirmations, optimistic thoughts and hope for your life, you will find yourself in a state of contentment, regardless of what life throws at you.
Much of the disappointment we feel comes from rehashing old failures and living in anxiety over what will happen tomorrow.
Living in today means letting go of what happened in the past and focusing on your current happiness.
Live in the moment and embrace all that life has to offer.
Your mistakes of yesterday are over.
It is important to learn to forgive yourself for what has happened and what you can’t change.
If yesterday was a failure, try again.
Today is a new day and a new chance for you to change the way you think about the circumstances of your life.
Today is a new day, so start today and chart a new course.
Recommended Reading: “The Power of Positive Thinking,” Norman Vincent Peale
5. On Dealing With Life’s Challenges
“Great men do not experience small challenges. They face great challenge but that is what makes them great. That is what give them a great story. That is what inspires them to live and leave distinctive footprints on minds. Though they face great challenges, they gather great momentum and strength to fight such challenges with fortitude and tenacity to the satisfaction of their inner man. Great men, though they face great challenges, always come out of the challenges with great stories. They live and leave distinctive footprints of life on minds” – Ernest Agyemang Yeboah
What makes men great is the challenges they can face and overcome.
They are admired for their bravery in the face of unimaginable adversity.
They find inner strength and use it to get through even the worst of times.
In the end, they have great, inspirational stories that last a lifetime.
Acting out of fear makes us weak.
It makes us lose hope.
When we have faith and hope, we can meet any challenges that are thrown our way.
We have the ability to respond to these challenges head on.
Don’t stop in the midst of troubles and stay there.
Press on and keep going until you persevere past them.
When you find yourself in the thick of a problem, keep going until you find your solution.
Having a comfortable life doesn’t push you, challenge you or make you resilient.
A difficult one makes you question yourself, re-invent yourself and develop creativity.
Praying for the strength to endure is one way to deal with whatever life throws at you.
6. On Tackling Huge Obstacles
“Little strokes fell great oaks.” – Ben Franklin
It is often the smallest actions, repeated consistently that bring in dramatic results.
Huge obstacles in life can have a bad effect on our work life.
When a task seems insurmountable or a goal seems out of reach, remember that even tiny efforts can make a big difference.
Keep chipping away at your goal and your success will gradually become closer.
Every January, people from all walks of life commit to making grand plans for improvement, and by February, only a few have stuck to those plans.
We get motivated, get started, and too quickly find ourselves giving up when we hit a bump in the road.
The problem is our thinking. We don’t realize that the best way to enact change is a little at a time.
Instead of committing to losing 100 pounds in six months, we can set goals to eat 200 fewer calories each day or to exercise for 15 minutes daily.
These small strokes can lead to significant change with enough time and consistency.
Here are 40 tiny things that lead to significant changes!
When faced with a huge, looming oak tree, patiently take small strokes with your axe until you watch it fall in front of your eyes.
Recommended Reading: “Resilience: Hard Won Wisdom for Living a Better Life,” by Eric Greitens
7. On Letting Go
“We must be able to let go of the life we have planned in order to live the life that is waiting for us.”
Sometimes we have things all figured out.
What career we are going to have, what adventures we are going to take and who is going to be by our sides throughout all of it.
Then life happens.
And life can often throw a wrench in our best-laid plans.
We may lose a loved one who we expected to be there, or we could find ourselves having to pack up and move and start life over.
Just like the man who had planned to climb Mt. Everest, then suddenly found himself without the use of his legs, we often have to reinvent ourselves.
And that is a process that is rarely easy or painless.
But it is possible.
If we continue to dwell on what could have been or what should have been, we miss out on what can be.
Holding on to our plans—even after life has given us a detour—-is a recipe for disappointment.
The key is to go into this new life with a fresh perspective and an open mind.
Imagine what lies ahead and how it can enhance your life.
Perhaps you have a new calling, or there is a new adventure that awaits.
Letting go of your old life’s plans doesn’t mean you have failed or given up.
It just means that you have accepted what will not be and found happiness in something new.
Recommended Reading: “The Secret of Letting Go,” by Guy Finley
8. On Needing Motivation to Live Your Dreams
“Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears” – Les Brown
At one point, we were all children who were allowed to dream.
Perhaps we wanted to be astronauts and travel to the moon.
Maybe we wanted to work toward world peace, or be famous actors or create our cartoons.
We dreamed big dreams and our thoughts were limitless.
But somewhere along the line, those dreams were quashed.
Not by someone who meant to do us harm, but more than likely a well-meaning person in our lives who encouraged us to “be realistic,” and “get our head out of the clouds.”
And from there, we limited ourselves.
We told ourselves that it was silly that we would want to travel to the moon, and we decided on more “practical” ambitions.
We start to think that owning our own businesses was out of reach, so we settled for something that was sensible out of fear of failure.
And the result was that so many people are walking around living our fears and our limitations.
We are living in a “safe” world because being a famous singer is “unrealistic.”
We’re afraid of being laughed at or told we’re not good enough.
You have permission to embrace your dreams.
Live your best life and don’t be afraid to fail.
Living out your dreams makes you truly alive.
Recommended Reading: “Chase the Lion: If Your Dream Doesn’t Scare You, It’s Too Small,” by Mark Batterson
9. On Broken Hearts
“Don’t cry when the sun is gone because the tears won’t let you see the stars.” – Violeta Para
While it is understandable that broken hearts will cause us immense pain and sadness, the reality is that time marches on and brings more joy and beauty into our lives.
When we are in the midst of our hurt and pain, we can often put our lives on hold, not allowing ourselves to experience the joy and the happiness that we once did.
When the sun is gone, rest assured that it will rise the next day again. And when it does, it will cover the world in its light.
It will provide light for plants to grow and sparkle off of lakes and rivers.
And bring beauty to the earth once again.
Give yourself time to feel and experience pain.
And when that time is up, wipe the tears from your face and see the beauty of the life that is still within you.
Allow yourself to feel happiness again and look forward to a bright new day.
Recommended Reading: “How to Heal a Broken Heart in 30 Days,” by Howard Bronson and Mike Riley
10. On Loyalty
“The friend in my adversity I shall always cherish most. I can better trust those who helped to relieve the gloom of my dark hours than those who are so ready to enjoy with me the sunshine of my prosperity.” – Ulysses S. Grant
The true friends are those who are there in your darkest hour, who will sit by your side when we are at our worst.
They are not fairweather friends who are only there when times are good and all is well.
The true measure of a friend is when he is there when there is no personal gain for himself.
Your friends will encourage you and tell you how great you are.
They will be there to support you and believe in you.
Not so your enemies.
They will tear you down, criticize you and force you to live up to your full potential by making you fight back against them.
There will be people who doubt you, individuals who tell you you’re not good enough and people who will hope for you to fail.
Keep believing in yourself, and you will be a winner.
Sometimes you have to be your biggest cheerleader.
People who are truly loyal to you will never delight in your failures.
They derive their happiness from your success and are actively pushing for you.
They are always in your corner, through thick and thin, and will defend you no matter what the circumstance.
Recommended Reading: “Why Loyalty Matters, the groundbreaking approach to rediscovering happiness, meaning and lasting fulfillment in your life’s work,” by Timothy Keiningham and Lerzan Aksoy
11. On Faith
“Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith.” – Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs, one of the most successful business owners of all time, may have appeared to have a perfect life.
Many people may believe that he had the perfect life as a multi-billionaire and that he had no problems.
The truth is, life can hit anyone with a brick. Jobs had his share of personal and professional failures, yet he kept the faith in spite of them.
Faith is just believing in something that has not come to fruition yet.
It is knowing that, at the end of your journey, there will be a reward for your hard work.
It is pushing on in spite of the obstacles in front of you because you believe that your perseverance will someday pay off.
When life gets overwhelming, it is important to keep the faith in your goals, hopes, and dreams.
Don’t get blindsided by hurdles thrown your way.
Recommended Reading: “Steve Jobs: The Man Who Thought Different,” by Karen Blumenthal
Those 11 quotes can surely help you through all the tough times you’re going through. Do share this if you think it’s helpful!