Resilience is the art of turning setbacks into opportunity. However, sometimes it can be hard to deal with life changes and difficulties. These seven quotes on resilience from Calvin Holbrook may inspire you to move forward. 


Resilience is an essential skill we need to develop in order to live and thrive successfully. That’s because every day we in life we will face setbacks, problems and challenges – and resilience refers to our capability to recover from these difficulties and bounce back.

Instead of simply surviving or burying our heads in the sand – which can lead to depression and anxiety – resilience determines whether we become defeated by life obstacles or fight through them and grow stronger, hopefully learning life lessons along the way. 

Building resilience techniques helps us to cope with the inevitable challenges that life will constantly hurl our way. The great thing is, we all possess the ability to access the mental strength that exists within. If you’re experiencing a hard time and need some inspiration to push through, these seven powerful resilience quotes may inspire you to find that inner-strength. 


Resilience quotes: 7 powerful sayings


1. “A good half of the art of living is resilience.” Alain de Botton

In this quote, the British-Swiss philosopher and author Alain de Botton recognises that staying resilient is an essential life skill, one that we we will use on a regular basis. Why? Well, because staying resilient helps us to recover from setbacks and/or failure, and it also helps us to deal with change. These are both things we will have to deal with continuously at all stages of our life, so it makes sense that resilience makes up such a vital part of the art of living. 

Resilient people will not let adversity define them. They find and develop their resilience by moving towards a goal beyond themselves, overcoming grief and pain by perceiving difficult times as the temporary state of affairs that they are. 



2. “Rock bottom became the solid foundation in which I rebuilt my life.” J.K. Rowling

This resilience quote comes from one of the best-selling authors on the planet, Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling. Before finding success, however, she was a single mum living on state benefits in Edinburgh, Scotland, after returning from a failed marriage in Portugal.

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Her first Potter book was rejected by 12 different publishers but that didn’t stop her giving up on her dream. Later, when her mother died, and she even developed suicidal thoughts. Nowadays, Rowling sites the difficult times as the foundation for rebuilding her life. She even has one of those rejection letters – which advises her to join a writers group to develop more experience – framed and displayed on her wall as a reminder of her resilience.


3. “If your heart is broken, make art with the pieces.” Shane Koyczan

This resilience quote comes from the award-winning spoken word poet and author Shane Koyczan. Our hearts can be broken for many different reasons: grief, failure, the end of a relationship. Koyczan suggests that we take the pain and put it to good use: be creative with it.

Getting over heartache is tough, but chanelling your pain into something creative helps you to get over it and move on, as well as creating something new, whether that be a poem, a song or a painting. Indeed, heartbreak can be a source of motivation and inspiration.


Just take a look at musician Sam Smith. Back in 2015 he won four Grammy awards for his work, an album he had completed while he was going through relationship struggles. During his acceptance speech for one of the Grammys, Smith stated: “I want to thank the man who this record is about, who I fell in love with last year. Thank you so much for breaking my heart, because you got me four Grammys.”



4. “Never cease chiseling your own statue.” Plotinus

Plotinus was a philosopher who lived in Roman Egypt. The issue of happiness was one of his greatest imprints on Western thought, and Plotinus was one of the first thinkers to introduce the idea that eudaimonia (happiness) is attainable only within consciousness.


“Building resilience techniques helps us to cope with the inevitable challenges that life will constantly hurl our way. These seven powerful resilience quotes may inspire you to find inner-strength.”

This resilience quote is about self-improvement and continued self-awareness in a bid to become the person you want to be. We all have things about us that we don’t like. These things can potentially keep us down and hold us back from growth.

Plotinus suggests: “cut away all that is excessive, straighten all that is crooked, bring light to all that is overcast, labor to make all one glow or beauty and never cease chiseling your statue, until there shall shine out on you from it the godlike splendor of virtue.”



5. “Do not judge me by my success, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.” Nelson Mandela

This resilience quote from the revered former President of South Africa will surely resonate with many of us. It suggests that resilience and strength are powerful human traits, more valuable than success itself. Mandela was knocked down many times in his long and illustrious life, and kept fighting despite all the odds.

So, if you’re struggling with failure or being beaten down, let Mandela’s words inspire you to never give up. His resilience quote reminds me of another well-known saying about staying resilient that’s also important to remember: “If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.”



6. “Discipline equals freedom.” Jocko Willink

Have you struggled to reach your goals or ambitions because of procrastination or failure to focus on the task at hand? Then this resilience quote from Jocko Willink could inspire you to work harder. Willink is an American retired Navy SEAL officer who now works as a podcaster and author.

While serving in the Navy, Willink rose through the ranks to become a commander. He lives by his “discipline equals freedom” mantra, imposing mental and physical disciplines he imposes on himself in order to achieve freedom in all aspects of life. His quote about being resilient suggests that you have to stay disciplined and focused to achieve what you want. And then, when you finally get there, the achievement will bring you freedom and happiness. 



7. “My barn having burned down, I can now see the moon.” Mizuta Masahide

If you currently need a reminder that every cloud has a silver lining, this is it! This resilience quote comes from Mizuta Masahide, a 17th-century Japanese poet and samurai. It suggests that when something bad happens, we should shift our focus away from the negative and try to see the positive in the situation.

Indeed, changing perspective and reframing a situation can help us to stay strong and move on from whatever is causing us pain. It helps us to stay resilient and gives us hope for the future.



Do you have any favourite quotes about resilience that you turn to in times of difficulty? Share them with the community in the comments section. 


Written by Calvin Holbrook

calvin.holbrook.jpegCalvin edits our online magazine, makes art, and is a lover of swimming, yoga, dancing to house/techno, and all things vintage! Find out more.



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