As the saying goes, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” Aside from being a fantastic use of chiastic structure (a term referring to a phrase that flips the first half of a sentence on its head for the second half), this maxim is a perfect example of tenacity: that willingness to continue on even in the face of hardship.
Call it persistence, call it determination, call it stubbornness — tenacity is largely about propulsion. It’s when we’re so driven to accomplish a goal or see a project through that we’re willing to go to any lengths to get there. It’s often defined as “strength with a purpose” — there is a momentum that pulls us through to the other side of challenges, and there is often a game plan or a strategy to supplement that can-do spirit.
Tenacity is also largely believed to be a skill versus a character trait, meaning that it can be learned and developed over time. It’s a strength often seen in great leaders and those who have achieved great success. Below, we’ve rounded up 13 quotes about the importance of tenacity, so we may manifest more of it in our lives.
Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.Thomas Edison
You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.Maya Angelou
Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: Nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.Calvin Coolidge
Your life's work is to find your life's work — and then to exercise the discipline, tenacity, and hard work it takes to pursue it.Oprah Winfrey
Champions keep playing until they get it right.Billie Jean King
The most difficult thing is the decision to act. The rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do.Amelia Earhart
Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goal. My strength lies solely in my tenacity.Louis Pasteur, chemist
Patience and tenacity are worth more than twice their weight of cleverness.Thomas Huxley, biologist
Achievement requires more than a vision — it takes courage, resolve, and tenacity. All you have got to do is plant that seed in your mind, care for it, work steadily toward your goal, and it will become a reality.Earl Nightingale, radio personality
The history of the world is full of men who rose to leadership, by sheer force of self-confidence, bravery, and tenacity.Mahatma Gandhi
Real courage is when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.Harper Lee
I'm not tough. I'm tenacious.Padma Lakshmi, TV host and author
It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer.Albert Einstein
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