A Friday Message: 80 Quotes on Mental Toughness

Who doesn’t love a good quote?


I have always found that if you are stuck in a rut, when you feel beaten down (mentally or physically), a great sentence from a great achiever just might be the catalyst you need to get up and keep moving toward your goals.


The subject of being mentally tough is one that has always fascinated me. There is a definite art and science to being able to follow through and take massive action in the face of defeat.


Sometimes we get so beaten down when we do not experience success as fast as we want that we start to become apathetic.


When we feel like times are getting hard and it seems easier to quit, we all need that encouraging word to remind us that the freedom we are all striving for might just be on the other side of the wall that we see before us.


In the spirit of Friday, here are 80 great quotes (or poems) about toughness to keep you going:



1.     “You have to stick out the toughness of the business and form relationships with the people in it.” -Rocco DiSpirito

2.     “Mental toughness is to physical as four is to one.”-Bobby Knight

3.     “In the end I didn’t get a top car any more. I had no toughness left. That was the reality.”
-Jacky Ickx

4.     “Concentration and mental toughness are the margins of victory.”-Bill Russell

5.     “In terms of instilling the values of mental toughness and work ethic, discipline is the gift that keeps on giving.” -William Baldwin

6.     “Get correct views of life, and learn to see the world in its true light. It will enable you to live pleasantly, to do good, and, when summoned away, to leave without regret. “
-Robert E. Lee

7.     “Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.” –Unknown

8.     “You know that little voice in the back of your mind, telling you to stop? Well you can train that little voice. I taught mine to shut up.” – Unknown

 9.    “Me personally, I believe that it’s only pain if you acknowledge it. If someone sees it as pain, I like to describe it as something that is unusual, out of place, or uncomfortable. You have to be all about being comfortable in uncomfortable situations. In the end, there’s work that has to be done. You don’t really have the time for self pity”.-Unknown

 10.  “When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.”-Franklin D. Roosevelt

 11. “Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.”                             – Ralph Waldo Emerson

12.  “A man can be beaten in two ways, if he gives up or he dies.”– Richard Machowic

13.  “The only easy day was yesterday.”– U.S. Navy SEALS

14.  “Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go.”-William Feather

15.  “Adversity causes some men to break, and others to break records.”– Unknown

16.  “Every morning in Africa a Gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest Lion or it will be killed…. Every morning a Lion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest Gazelle or it will starve to death. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a Lion or a Gazelle when the sun comes up… you’d better be running.” – Charlotte Wrestling

17.  “Suffer the pain of discipline or suffer the pain of regret!” -Unknown

18.  “Obsessed is just a word the lazy use to describe the dedicated.”– Unknown

19.  “Expect problems and eat them for breakfast.”Alfred A. Montapert

20. “I don’t measure a man’s success by how high he climbs but how high he bounces when he hits bottom.” -General George S. Patton

21.  “Even if you fall on your face, you’re still moving forward.” -Victor Kiam

22. “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”– Mark Twain

23. “Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.”– Alexander Graham Bell

24. “Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that all was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, and make it possible.”– T.E. Lawrence

25. “Who dares, wins” –British SAS

26. “Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger

27.  “Strength is the product of struggle” – Unknown

28. “Today I will do the things that other people won’t, so tomorrow I can do the things that other people can’t” – Unknown

29.  “We’ll operate with no excuses. There are no excuses. You succeed or you don’t.”                     -Unknown

30. “To achieve success, whatever the job we have, we must pay a price”– Vince Lombardi

31. “Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.” –Lance Armstrong

32. “Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure…life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” – Helen Keller

33. “Sure I am this day we are masters of our fate, that the task which has been set before us is not above our strength; that its pangs and toils are not beyond our endurance. As long as we have faith in our own cause and an unconquerable will to win, victory will not be denied us.”
-Winston Churchill

34. “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands at times of comfort and convenience, but at times of challenge and adversity.”-Unknown

35. “Why tip toe through life, to arrive safely at death? If you’re gonna be afraid to live, what’s the point?”Unknown

36. “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” –Theodore Roosevelt

37.  “I want to be the best. So whatever comes with that, I have to accept it.” – Sidney Crosby

38. “Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men.” -John F. Kennedy

39. “Remember, if it was easy, everyone would do it. Champions are built brick by painful brick and that can take a lifetime. Sometimes it can happen without anyone even bothering to notice. Take heart. The mountains you climb can’t always be seen by an audience… Still, you must not stop climbing. For, in all their sophomoric hubris, whatever actions men take, or do not take, the mountain remains.”Unknown

40. “You got to get through the bullshit to get to the cool shit.”Unknown

41.  “We will either find a way, or make one!”– Hannibal

42. “The best way out is always through.” – Robert Frost

43. “The only way of finding the limits of the possible is by going beyond them into the impossible.” – Arthur C. Clarke

44. “Nothing on earth can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.”– Thomas Jefferson

45. “The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.”Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

46. “If you hear a voice within you saying, ‘You are not a painter,’ then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.” -Vincent Van Gogh

47.  “When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.” –Confucius

48. “There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long range risks of comfortable inaction.”John F. Kennedy

49. “Create a definite plan for carrying out your desire and begin at once, whether you ready or not, to put this plan into action.”Napoleon Hill

50. “Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”
Dale Carnegie

51.  “Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.”Michael Jordan

52. My mind is my biggest asset. I expect to win every tournament I play.”
Tiger Woods

53. “To be a great champion you must believe you are the best. If you’re not, pretend you are.”Muhammad Ali

54. “I would visualize things coming to me. It would just make me feel better. Visualization works if you work hard. That’s the thing. You can’t just visualize and go eat a sandwich.”              -Jim Carrey

55. “Falling down is how we grow, Staying down is how we die.”Brian Vaszily

56. “When someone tells me something is impossible, all i hear is that he or she in particular cannot do it. If it can be thought, it can be done.”Brian Vaszily

57.  “Opportunity is always knocking, the problem is that most people have the self-doubt station in their head turned up way to loud to hear it.”Brian Vaszily

58. “What this power is, I cannot say. All I know is that it exists…and it becomes available only when you are in that state of mind in which you know exactly what you want…and are fully determined not to quit until you get it.” Alexander Graham Bell

59. “The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.”
Henry David Thoreau

60. “If your going through hell, keep going.” Winston Churchill

61.  “He who says he can and he who says he can’t are both usually right.”

62. “Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on when others let go.”
William Feather

63. “Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that all was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, and make it possible.”
T.E. Lawrence

64. “Adversity causes some men to break, and others to break records.”

65. “When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit-
Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.”

“Life is strange with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out.
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow –
You may succeed with another blow.”

“Success is failure turned inside out,
The silver tint in the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It might be near when it seems afar;
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit –
It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.”

Edgar A. Guest

66. “If you wanna be the best, find the thing that sucks the most, then do it until it doesn’t suck, then repeat.”-Unknown

67.  “I can’t quit, I ain’t dead yet”-Unknown

68. “The Spartans say that any army may win while it still has legs under it; the real test comes when all strength is fled and the men must produce victory on will alone.” –Steven Pressfield, Gates of Fire

69. “If a man does not have an ideal and try to live up to it, then he becomes a mean, base and sordid creature, no matter how successful.”-Theodore Roosevelt

70. “Those who cannot bravely face danger are the slaves of their attackers.”

71. Being realistic is the quickest path to mediocrity”-Will Smith

72.  “The more difficulties one has to encounter, within and without, the more significant and the higher in inspiration his life will be.” – Horace Bushnell

73.  “Life has no smooth road for any of us; and in the bracing atmosphere of a high aim the very roughness stimulates the climber to steadier steps, till the legend, over steep ways to the stars, fulfills itself.” – W. C. Doane

74.  “Happy are those who dream dreams and are ready to pay the price to make them come true.” Leon J. Suenes

75.  “It was a high counsel that I once heard given to a young person, “Always do what you are afraid to do.”” Ralph Waldo Emerson

76.  “Take calculated risks. That is quite different from being rash.” – George S. Patton

77.  “We are all inventors, each sailing out on a voyage of discovery, guided each by a private chart, of which there is no duplicate. The world is all gates, all opportunities.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

78. “Fortune favors the brave.” – Publius Terence

79. ”Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.” – Albert Einstein

 And finally, here is a poem that I absolutely love. Every time I read it, it serves as an inspiration to keep going.

The Man in the Glass

When you get what you want in your struggle for self
And the world makes you king for a day,
Just go to the mirror and look at yourself
And see what that man has to say.
For it isn’t your father or mother or wife
Who judgement upon you must pass;
The fellow whose verdict counts most in your life
Is the one staring back from the glass.
Some people may think your a straight-shootin’ chum
And call you a wonderful guy,
But the man in the glass says you’re only a bum
If you can’t look him straight in the eye.
He’s the fellow to please, never mind all the rest,
For he’s with you clear up to the end.
And you’ve passed your most dangerous, difficult test
If the man in the glass is your friend.
You may fool the whole world down the pathway of life
And get pats on your back as you pass.
But your final reward will be heartaches and tears
If you’ve cheated the man in the glass.

-Peter “Dale” Wimbrow Sr.


There you go. If you found some value in this, please share it with someone who might need it now or someone else who might need it for a rainy day.

Most of all, I would love to hear what you favorite quote on toughness and perseverance is, even if I have not included it on this list.

Have an awesome day!



Photo by Casey



Tim is a Professional Soldier, Blogger, Businessman, Father and Husband (although not necessarily in that order).

He lives in Pennsylvania with his beautiful wife and 2 wonderful little boys.