When times get tough, we’re all told that we need to persevere.  You can’t overcome adversity without perseverance.  However, what many young athletes aren’t aware of is that every single one of us has the ability to persevere deep down inside. Even though we are all aware that “sticking to the process”, “working hard”, and “keeping a positive attitude” are the formula to persevering, there are few athletes out there that have the ability to overcome adversity.  Why?  Well, its simple – they think its too damn hard.  Well, its not.  Everyone has to overcome adversity in some way, shape, or form.  If you’re down in the dumps and don’t know what to do, then you need to read and digest these perseverance quotes.  Skimming through these perseverance quotes won’t make your adversity go away.  But, if you read these and actually pull a life lesson from each one, you will find that the mountain that you are trying to climb is more like a mole hill.  Overcoming adversity starts with getting your mind right, and these 27 perseverance quotes will help you put things back in perspective so that you can go to work.

The 27 Best Perseverance Quotes:

1. “Sometimes the biggest problem is in your head. You’ve got to believe.” – Jack Nicklaus

The biggest enemy to your success won’t be the person that is lining up against you in competition. It’s the person looking back at you in the mirror.  Don’t make mountains out of mole hills and believe that you have the ability to achieve success.

Read Jack Nicklaus’ Book – My Story


2. “You’re never a loser until you quit trying.”– Mike Ditka

If you happen to lose in anything in life, realize that the risk taker will experience losses.  What happens on the scoreboard doesn’t define you as a human being or an athlete, but what will define you is if you decide to quit.

Read Coach Ditka’s Book – In Life, First You Kick A**


3. “Do not let what you can not do interfere with what you can do.” – John Wooden

If you can’t do something at the moment, you can’t dwell on it.  Once you start dwelling on things with negative thoughts, you take your focus away from developing your skills. You’re gonna fail and its gonna suck on your way to the top – get used to it and don’t dwell on it.

Read John Wooden’s Book – Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off the Court


4. “It’s not the load that breaks you down – it’s the way you carry it.” – Lou Holtz

This perseverance quote is to teach you that failure is not going to define you, but how you react to it will.  Everyone experiences failure, but not everyone can drop the heavy weight from failure and walk away from it.

Read Coach Holtz’s Book – Winning Every Day: The Game Plan for Success


5. “Just because you fail, it doesn’t make you a failure.” – Eric Thomas

Just because you lose, it doesn’t make you a loser – and, just because you fail, it doesn’t make you a failure.  The doer is way better than the dreamer.  Go out and work as hard as you can and fail honestly on a daily basis.  Fail because you are going above and beyond your comfort zone and trying to learn new things.

Read Eric Thomas’ Book – Greatness Is Upon You


6. “Courage is not having the strength to go on; it is going on when you don’t have the strength.”- Theodore Roosevelt

Courage is when you’ve been kicked down, dragged through the mud, laughed at, told that you suck and standing up to not accept it.  Perseverance quotes can motivate you temporarily, but the courage that it takes to continue to make progress when you don’t feel like doing it is what builds your character.

Read Theodore Roosevelt’s Biography – The River of Doubt


7. “Never, never, never give up.” – Jim Valvano

If you want to make it in life or sports, you can’t quit.  That’s rule number one.  Never give up what you’re doing and continue to push forward. One of our favorite perseverance quotes reminds you that if you’re going through a rough patch, just work harder and keep pushing forward, stride by stride.

Read the Book on Jim Valvano’s Historic Speech – Don’t Give Up… Don’t Ever Give Up


8. “Champions keep playing until they get it right.” – Billie Jean King

There are too many people that quit when they don’t understand how to do something.  Out of all of our perseverance quotes, Billie Jean King reminds you that what separates champions from the rest is that champions become obsessed with figuring out how to do something and then practice it until they have mastered it.

Read Billie Jean King’s Book – Pressure Is a Privilege


9. “If you aren’t going to go all the way, why go at all?” – Joe Namath

What’s the point of doing something in life if you’re not going to put your heart into it?  Life is so much more enjoyable when you have decided to drop your guard, accept that failure is going to present itself on your road to success, and continue to push through it until you’ve reached your goal.

Read Joe Namath’s Biography – Namath: a Biography


10. “There may be people that have more talent than you, but there’s no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do.” – Derek Jeter

Your attitude, work ethic, and the choices that you make in your life are the three things that you can control.  Jeter’s got a ton of perseverance quotes, but this one is our favorite because it reminds you that you are the controller of your own destiny. You can’t control how talented you are at the moment, but you can control that you are going to work as hard as you can to develop that talent.

Read Derek Jeter’s Book – Jeter Unflitered


11. “If you have everything under control, you’re not moving fast enough.” — Mario Andretti

This perseverance quote reminds you that if you’re cruising through life and everything is going great, then you’re regressing.  Have a paranoia that you’re either getting better or getting worse on a daily basis and understand that you have to work today to make yourself move forward instead of backward.

Read Mario Andretti’s Book – Race To Win


12. “Set your goals high, and don’t stop till you get there.”  – Bo Jackson

If you have realistic goals in life, then you’re not setting them high enough.  If you want to be successful, you have to set your goals so high that you’re scared of them.

Read Bo Jackson’s Autobiography – Bo Knows Bo

13. “It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.”  – Muhammad Ali

Worrying is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do but it gets you nowhere.  Don’t worry about the little things, i.e. micro-adversities, and focus on the big picture.  You have an idea of where you want to go, so set out a plan and make it happen.

Read Muhammad Ali’s Autobiography – The Greatest: My Own Story


14. “Today, you have 100% of your life left” – Tom Landry

Every day is a gift and the opportunity to improve your ability.  What happened yesterday doesn’t matter anymore, and it shouldn’t matter if you want to win the day.

Read Tom Landry’s Biography – The Last Cowboy: A Life of Tom Landry


15. “There are only two options regarding commitment. You’re either IN or you’re OUT. There is no such thing as life in-between.”– Pat Riley

If you want to be successful, you have to be committed. This perseverance quote from Coach Riley reminds you that success isn’t given to lottery winners, its given to those who are persistent and apply themselves every day.

Read Pat Riley’s Book – The Winner Within: A Life Plan for Team Players


16. “I’ve got a theory that if you give 100% all of the time, somehow things will work out in the end.” –Larry Bird

Larry Bird taps into the one quote that echoes amongst professionals:  The harder you work, the luckier you become.

Read Larry Bird’s Autobiography – Drive: The Story of My Life


17. “Adversity causes some men to break; others to break records.” – William Arthur Ward

Everyone faces adversity and some people face it more than others.  Have the mindset that your struggle won’t break you, but it will make you stronger.  Push through adversity and realize that the reason why the view is great at the top is because it takes the guts of the few to get up there.

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18. “You can’t get much done in life if you only work on the days when you feel good.” – Jerry West

If you want to be successful and climb your way to the top, then you have to put in the work when you feel like you’re at rock bottom. This perseverance quote reminds you that you have to put the work in every day in order to achieve your dreams.

Read Jerry West’s Autobiography – West by West: My Charmed, Tormented Life


19. “The road to Easy Street goes through the sewer.” – John Madden

This is one of our favorite perseverance quotes because there is no such thing as easy success.  The only way to be successful is to work, work, work, and work some more.

Read About Madden’s Coaching Years – Badasses: The Legend of Snake, Foo, Dr. Death, and John Madden’s Oakland Raiders


20. “If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.” – Fred Devito

Progress occurs when you are pushed outside of your comfort zone and have to develop your skills to be successful.  Keep building on those skills so that you can keep raising the bar and push yourself to the next level.


21. “Mental will is a muscle that needs exercise, just like muscles of the body.”- Lynn Jennings

If you don’t think that training your mind is important, then you need to read this. Being mentally tough is just as important as being physically tough.


22. “Just keep going. Everybody gets better if they keep at it.” – Ted Williams

The main reason why many people never fulfill their dreams in life is because they quit.  If you suck at something, practice it.  The more practice you put in, the better you become at something, and the easier that thing becomes.

Read Ted Williams’ Biography – The Kid: The Immortal Life of Ted Williams


23. “Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.” – Babe Ruth

On your way to climbing to the top, you’re going to fail.  A lot.  Look at failure as water off of a ducks back.  Let it continue to run off of your back and drop to the ground.

Read Babe Ruth’s Biography – Babe: The Legend Comes To Life


24. “Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, or difficulty.” – Theodore Roosevelt

The most rewarding things in life are the ones that take a great deal of time and energy to accomplish.  Are you hurt or exhausted?  If you aren’t that means you’re not working to overcome your adversity.  Snap out of that type of thinking and get back to work.


25. “Fall down seven times, stand up eight.” – Japanese Proverb

It’s not whether you get knocked off of the horse, its whether you decide to dust yourself off and get back on. Everyone gets knocked down once or twice in their lives and decides to pack it in because its “just not meant to be”. Whatever you’re facing at the moment won’t be the one thing that defines you in life – have perseverance and power through it.


26. “It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop.” – Confucius

The game of life is a marathon, not a sprint, and the athletes that believe life is all about sprinting until they can put it on cruise control are the ones that end up being passed by. Aim to get 1% better every day.  1% per day doesn’t seem like a lot, but imagine the difference that makes over the course of an entire year.


27. “Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald

Losing is part of life.  It’s not a signal that you’re finished.  Keep persevering through because everyone loses. It’s about how hard you push yourself and how you play the game.

So there you have it, some of the best perseverance quotes that we could find.  Hopefully, they motivate you to keep going and stick with the process.  However, always remember that you can read as many motivational perseverance quotes as you want, but its up to you to continue to push yourself.  Adversity makes the journey worthwhile when you reach the end.

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