Obstacles are like wild animals. They are cowards but they will bluff you if they can. If they see you are afraid of them… they are liable to spring upon you; but if you look them squarely in the eye, they will slink out of sight.
—Orison Swett Marden (1850–1924) American New Thought Writer, Physician, Entrepreneur
When something does not insist on being noticed, when we aren’t grabbed by the collar or struck on the skull by a presence or an event, we take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.
—Cynthia Ozick (b.1928) American Novelist, Short-story Writer, Essayist
Usually obstacles are the things you see when you take your eyes off the goal.
The block of granite which was an obstacle in the pathway of the weak becomes a stepping-stone in the pathway of the strong.
—Thomas Carlyle (1795–1881) Scottish Historian, Essayist
The greater the obstacle, the more glory we have in overcoming it; the difficulties with which we are met are the maids of honor which set off virtue.
—Moliere (1622–73) French Playwright
The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance — it is the illusion of knowledge.
—Daniel J. Boorstin (1914–2004) American Historian, Academic, Attorney, Writer
The great obstacle to progress is prejudice.
—Christian Nestell Bovee (1820–1904) American Writer, Aphorist
Without belittling the courage with which men have died, we should not forget those acts of courage with which men … have lived. The courage of life is often a less dramatic spectacle than the courage of a final moment; but it is no less a magnificent mixture of triumph and tragedy. A man does what he must—in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers and pressures—and that is the basis of all human morality…. In whatever arena of life one may meet the challenge of courage, whatever may be the sacrifices he faces if he follows his conscience—the loss of his friends, his fortune, his contentment, even the esteem of his fellow men—each man must decide for himself the course he will follow. The stories of past courage can define that ingredient—they can teach, they can offer hope, they can provide inspiration. But they cannot supply courage itself. For this each man must look into his own soul.
—John F. Kennedy (1917–63) American Head of State, Journalist
For every mountain, there is a miracle.
—Robert H. Schuller (1926–2015) American Christian Televangelist, Author
We are built to conquer environment, solve problems, achieve goals, and we find no real satisfaction or happiness in life without obstacles to conquer and goals to achieve.
—Maxwell Maltz (1899–1975) American Surgeon, Motivational Writer
The obstacle is the path.
—Zen Proverb Japanese School of Mahayana Buddhism
In the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins; not through strength, but through persistence.
—H. Jackson Brown, Jr. (b.1940) American Self-Help Author
The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do.
—Walter Bagehot (1826–77) English Businessperson, Essayist, Journalist
I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed. Out of the hard and unusual struggle through which he is compelled to pass, he gets a strength, a confidence, that one misses whose pathway is comparatively smooth by reason of birth and race.
—Booker T. Washington (1856–1915) African-American Educationist
Do Not Quit
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.
Success is failure turned inside out,
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems afar.
So, stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit…
It’s when things go wrong that you mustn’t quit.
—Edgar Guest (1881–1959) English-born American Poet, Radio Personality, TV Personality
You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing that we call “Failure” is not the falling down, but the staying down.
—Mary Pickford (1893–1979) American-Canadian Actor, Producer