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  • Fortunately, any kind of setback has represented a challenge to do better, rather than an acceptance of inferiority on my part.

  • If I am going up a ladder, and a dog begins to bite at my ankles, I can do one of two things — either turn round and kick out at the it, or simply go on up the ladder. I prefer to go up the ladder!

  • The very utterness of the crash and ruin, the desperation of the case, might be its hope. On ruins one can begin to build. Anyhow, looking out from ruins one clearly sees; there are no obstructing walls.

  • But the fruit that can fall without shaking, / Indeed is too mellow for me.

    • Lady Mary Wortley Montagu,
    • "Answer, for Lord William Hamilton" (1768), The Works of the Right Honorable Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, vol. 5 ()
  • This struggle of people against their conditions, this is where you find the meaning in life.

  • These are times in which a genius would wish to live. It is not in the still calm of life, or the repose of a pacific station, that great characters are formed. ... The habits of a vigorous mind are formed in contending with difficulties. All history will convince you of this, and that wisdom and penetration are the fruit of experience, not the lessons of retirement and leisure. Great necessities call out great virtues.

    • Abigail Adams,
    • to her son, John Quincy Adams (1780), Letters of Mrs. Adams ()
  • We never know how high we are / Till we are called to rise; / And then, if we are true to plan, / Our statures touch the skies.

    • Emily Dickinson,
    • in Mabel Loomis Todd, ed., The Letters of Emily Dickinson 1845-1886 ()
  • Obstacles are challenges for winners, and excuses for losers.

  • I feel as if I am trying to row against wind and tide, with soft rubber oars.

    • Valentine Ackland,
    • 1957, in Susanna Pinney, ed., I'll Stand by You: Selected Letters of Sylvia Townsend Warner and Valentine Ackland ()
  • Setbacks are what build character. They are what separate the lucky from the truly successful.

  • If and but, life's great impediments!

    • Eugénie de Guérin,
    • letter (1834), in Guillaume S. Trébutien, ed., Letters of Eugénie de Guérin ()
  • ... there is always a but in this imperfect world ...

  • ... children may need challenges and high-risk conditions in order to develop the self-generated immunity to trauma that characterizes survivors. To be tested is good. The challenged life may be the best therapist.

  • Imaginary obstacles are insurmountable. Real ones aren't.

  • There's no use throwing down the gauntlet in front of me and daring me to pick it up. 'Pick it up yourself,' I'd say.

  • ... he struggled to remember. It was like watching an elephant crochet.

  • My instinct has always been to turn drawbacks into drawing cards.

  • What doesn't kill you makes you stronger — and gives you good screenplay material.

  • The perfume of natures does not usually come forth without bruising.

  • Providence has hidden a charm in difficult undertakings, which is appreciated only by those who dare to grapple with them.

  • For a long time it seemed to me that real life was about to begin, but there was always some obstacle in the way. Something had to be got through first, some unfinished business; time still to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.

  • I've spent my whole life learning how to do things that were hard for me.

  • Nothing, I am sure, calls forth the faculties so much as the being obliged to struggle with the world.

  • The very thing that seems to impede your progress can often be turned to account for you.