10 Motivational Quotes and Tips for Hard Times

10 Motivational Quotes and Tips for Hard Times

Just a few motivational quotes and tips for those hard times when you need a quick dose of inspiration.

1.  Accepting Life’s Challenges

“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

In every life there are great challenges, and in every challenge there are great doses of life to be lived.

Whether you judge a challenge to be a problem or an opportunity says more about you than about the challenge itself.  The way you choose to see the world is the way your world will be.  This is what gives life its magic; it’s a continuous, dynamic phenomenon that becomes exactly what you choose to make it.

Do something extraordinary.  Accept life’s opportunities.  Realize that if you never step up to a challenge that’s a bit over your head, you’ll never know how tall you truly are.  Rise to each challenge and continue adding value to the ever-growing possibilities that await your brilliance.

2.  Working Hard

“There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.”  –Beverly Sills

When you’re young you have this fantasy that super successful adults – writers, musicians, doctors, businessmen, etc. – have some kind of magical chest of tools allowing them to build masterpieces that are larger than life.  You fanaticize about a hammer of creativity, a pliers of efficiency, a saw of wisdom, and so on and so forth.

But then you grow up and you realize, for the most part, everyone is working with the same set of imperfect, rusty, old tools – desire, commitment, honesty, kindness, love, persistence, etc.  And as flawed and bent as they may be, they work wonders against the odds when you truly put them to the test.  Read The Success Principles.

3.  Choosing Wisely

“It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”  –J.K. Rowling

The universe – people, books, life experience, etc. – can only give you good advice, but you ultimately decide what to do with it.

Life is ticking away every second.  The worst thing is spending your entire life drowning slowly and not being able to convince yourself that you are in full control, and that you can easily save yourself by simply standing up.

This is your life, made up entirely of your choices, your actions, your thoughts, your relationships, etc.  Someday you will either decide to save yourself or remain unsaved forever.

4.  Growing from Problems

“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”  –Friedrich Nietzsche

Times of great difficulty are times of great opportunity.  These times may not seem ideal at first, but they usually provide keen insight into ideas of great value.  When you are surrounded by problems, you are simultaneously given an opportunity to provide valuable solutions.

When times are good and everything is comfortably in order, it’s easy to become complacent and forget how skillful and resourceful you are capable of being.  Troubled times are necessary evils that push you forward, because they eventually end, and the lessons and strengths you gain from them last a lifetime.

5.  Laughing it Off

“Sometimes crying or laughing are the only options left, and laughing feels better right now.”  –Veronica Roth

If you wish to measure your success in life, don’t bother analyzing your bank account, or your job description, or your relationship status, or your weight, or any other superficial badge society loves to pin on your resume.  Just count the moments you spend peacefully in laughter.  That’s what success is – living happily in your own way, and laughing at the highs, the lows, and all the ridiculous moments in between.

Do what you need to do, but don’t take yourself too seriously.  Laugh whenever you can because you can.  There’s honestly nothing like deep breaths after a good chuckle – nothing in the whole wide world like a sore tummy and cheeks for all the right reasons.  Read Learned Optimism.

6.  Staying True to Yourself

“I think the reward for conformity is that everyone likes you except yourself.”  –Rita Mae Brown

To make a positive difference in your life you must sometimes be different and take the road less traveled.  It requires courage to go against the grain like this, especially when the people around you are confused and irritated by your choices; but such courage can bring great rewards when you stick to your guns.

Where others see only shadows of uncertainty, look for glimmers of opportunity.  When you encounter rudeness and irritation, generously offer polite doses of confident patience.  When you bump up against arrogance, dilute the negativity with your own sincere, self-assured humility.

Just because everyone is heading in a one direction doesn’t mean you must go that way too.  On the contrary, it’s a valuable opportunity for you to step aside and figure out where you truly want to go.

7.  Fighting for Your Dreams

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”  –Eleanor Roosevelt

When things don’t go right, it doesn’t mean you have to go wrong along with them.  Goals and dreams are kind of like breathing – once you give up, there’s no hope left.  Don’t do that to yourself.

It’s always too early to quit.  You must continue breathing, even if it’s just a series of short, shallow breaths.  Continue putting forth even the smallest efforts to sustain your dreams.  Accept the fact that if you fight through the challenges, there is always a chance you might lose, but if you do not fight at all, you have already lost.  Read 1,000 Little Things.

8.  Deciding to Change

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.  So throw off the bowlines.  Sail away from the safe harbor.  Catch the trade winds in your sails.  Explore.  Dream.  Discover.”  –Mark Twain

If you’re not where you want to be right now, take the time to visualize yourself in the place you want to be and take the first step in that direction.  You may not be able to change your destination in a day, but you can change your direction right now.

Keep moving along this new path and it will eventually lead you to your destination.

9.  Being Present

“It’s being here now that’s important.  There’s no past and there’s no future.  Time is a very misleading thing.  All there is ever, is the now.  We can gain experience from the past, but we can’t relive it; and we can hope for the future, but we don’t know if there is one.”  –George Harrison

Do not wish your moments away.  Do not ruin today by focusing on another time and place.  There is only now; realize how rich you are in it.  It stands to reason that if you learn to live well you will eventually pass on well too, in complete peace.  The skills are the same: being present in the moment, and brave, and thankful for all the opportunities you have.

Make your time count.  Right now you are creating history – your legacy.  Don’t let it slip by without being aware of it.  Life works in a strange way:  You want something and you work and wait and work and wait, and feel like it’s taking forever to come.  Then it happens and it’s over and all you want to do is relive all the great memories you made along the way.

Happiness is the journey.  Open your eyes.  Don’t miss it.  Read The Power of Now.

10.  Being Thankful

“Keep your face always toward the sunshine, and shadows will fall behind you.”  –Walt Whitman

You are right here, right now, breathing.  Enjoy it.  You’ve got nothing to do today except to smile.

Happiness is valuing what you have, and enjoying the people, places, objects and events in your life for what they are.  It’s not about changing and achieving all the time, it’s about being and appreciating.  And you can nearly always enjoy the things happening around you if you make up your mind firmly that you will.

Photo by: Hartwig HKD


  1. Greg says

    Your tri-weekly articles and emails inspire me to further greatness, help me overcome my fears and give me faith for the future. Thank you for the quotes, the tips, and the continued motivation.

  2. says

    Thank you for these motivational quotes. I need to make some big changes, and take some serious action on something that I am fearing and struggling with, and this list provides the right motivation at the right time.

  3. says

    Point #3 makes me think of Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken”.

    It is up to us to make our choices and I can’t help but smile at the traveler in Frost’s poem. His hopeful optimism as he chooses the path he felt was less traveled, regardless of the fact that he knew they were both equally fair. He’s a man that doesn’t regret or wonder what if. He doesn’t worry about the opportunity costs because he’s too busy living in the moment. He’s content with his choices. Thank you, Marc.

  4. Laura Fletcher says

    Oh, I needed these words of wisdom today. Been having some hard times at work. Thank you very much! I just printed this out and posted it on my wall to keep me inspired and on point.

  5. Faiza says

    I have been following your blog for quite a long time now. Whenever life gets tough, one of your articles pops up, makes me smile and assures me I am strong enough and can improve everything that bugs me.

  6. says

    “You may not be able to change your destination in a day, but you can change your direction right now.”

    This is a great point. It’s never the wrong time to change direction. It’s never too late to set a new course.

    That doesn’t mean stop everything you’re doing and hop on the next bandwagon. It simply means making a choice then taking the actions, one by one, that will eventually lead to a whole new destination.

    A wide bend along your path is a bend all the same.


  7. says

    Great list of quotes. :)

    Love the first one by Randy Pausch.

    I was fortunate enough to have Randy as my professor and advisor while at UVA.

    His class was my favorite of all time, and I still have his class notes in my bookshelf. (True!)

  8. Gaurav says

    FAB, Awesome, Fantastic!!
    Your blog’s long-term creditability in my eyes is far greater than the words of a single post Marc :)
    I have given a thought over your blogs and I feel your point #3 of “Living in the present ” is what I must realize today and bring to Action ..
    Keep up the Good work :)
    – Gaurav

  9. says

    I like the choices of motivational quotes you’ve made here. They concern different and interesting topics : the self, life, working hard, dreams, change. I’ll add one more:

    “Continuous effort – not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential.”
    Winston Churchill

  10. says

    As difficult as it is, #10 is seeing me through each and every day now.

    Cancer hit hard and fast last year and I lost my husband of 15 years the week before Christmas. Waking up and facing the world is brutal some days but if I can just find and focus on the tiny little gratitudes I still have.

    I am still here.
    I still have my beautiful little boy who fills in the silence.
    I still have my husband’s wonderful friends.
    I still have now.

    I still have hope it will get a little easier.

  11. Jackie says

    This was AMAZING! You guys have no idea how much this helped me today! and how much I NEEDED to hear that! thank you so much!

  12. Renee says

    I find your posts and the entire site to be superbly brilliant.
    I also appreciate the feedback and sharing from everyone that visits the site.
    Thanks again.

  13. Izabel says

    Thank you. You have no idea how much you have helped me through this hard time I’m living and inspiring me to keep going. Thanks.

  14. Mr_Baseball says

    “If you wish to measure your success in life, don’t bother analyzing your bank account, or your job description, or your relationship status, or your weight, or any other superficial badge society loves to pin on your resume. Just count the moments you spend peacefully in laughter. That’s what success is – living happily in your own way, and laughing at the highs, the lows, and all the ridiculous moments in between.”

    I agree with this sentiment wholeheartedly. That said, sadly it “feels” (emphasis on feels) like the majority of the population ONLY judges people based on those superficial aspects. Granted there are always a select few that look for more, but in my own experience I’ve met more people who judge based on those things. Then again this is coming from a guy who’s single and in his 30’s…

    Despite that, the fact remains that more substantial aspects of a human being are the true measure of success. Maybe with time, more people will catch on.

  15. De says

    Love your site and am glad that you have started to share and attribute some great sayings to the people who said them. Just wanted to let you know that Mark Twain not H. Jackson Brown, Jr. actually said:
    “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
    Thanks for encouraging the masses!

  16. says

    Thankyou Marc,
    I always find it good to read motivational quotes and think about them. I try to surround myself every day by great resources, whether that be quotes, music, motivational audio or whatever else. The more I do this the deeper it gets into my head!


  17. says

    Thanks for all the positive feedback everyone. Just read every one of your comments – I really appreciate it. And to those who made the Mark Twain quote correction, thank you. I’ll login and update the quote credits first thing tomorrow.

  18. RED13 says

    Powerfully perfect. It took me 1 hour to read and write down the entire post. I’m gonna put it on my bedroom’s wall. It really made my day and I’m looking to the future hopefully.
    To sum up, gain experience from past and hope for the future. God bless you!

  19. let says

    I really need this right now. Everything in my life is not going right. When I try to make it better, something always goes wrong. I try and try but I cant seem to get out of this hole. These words do help.

  20. Pam says

    My company is in financial trouble and my husband and I may be losing our jobs soon, my daughter is having a tough surgery on tuesday and my son has been diagnosed with Autism.
    I could use some words of comfort and encouragement.
    I hope you have something that I can look to for strength because I’m in short supply these days.

  21. Zama says

    Thanks for all these inspirational words, they are really making a huge difference in my life… And thanks to each and every one of you who shared your insights with us.

  22. williams puomah says

    I am very much motivated with these quotes and lessons and it actual made me want to share with other people. Thanks.

  23. says

    Great article and quotes once again. I would like to add 2 Quotes that I think will fit in perfectly. The first one is:

    “A problem is only a problem when viewed as a problem.”

    I’ve experienced a lot of stuff recently, and I realised that not all problems are actually problems. There are like 2 options, it’s either a fixable problem, that we can fix, or it’s something we can’t fix (no need to worry if that’s the case). So don’t sweat over the small stuff, if it can be fixed, fix it. If it can’t be, let it be.

    “It doesn’t matter where you are coming from. All that matters is where you are

    Your past doesn’t define you. The future is ahead of you! Don’t let your past steal your future.

  24. Pretzi Erolan says

    Wow!!! How enlightening. .. a perfect heart and eye opener. Hope to read more inspirational thoughts in a regular basis. God bless

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