35 Strength Quotes That Will Have You Flexing Those Metaphysical Muscles

Inspiring Stories

When you picture a strong person, your very first thoughts may be of a bodybuilder flexing muscles honed by countless hours in the gym. However, upon reflection you’ll realize that true human strength has nothing to do with muscle mass, rep counts, or weights lifted into the air. 

Rather, strength has everything to do with perseverance, bravery, and, ironically, human strength often has much to do with being gentle. Here’s a quick anecdote to prove it.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, former governor of California, world-renowned movie star, and of course the most famous bodybuilder of all time, won the title of Mr. Olympia a stunning seven times. He perfectly demonstrated true strength when a fan sent him this Tweet: “I know this is pandering but, I’ve been depressed for months and haven’t hit the gym during that time. Mr. Schwarzenegger can you please tell me to get off my lazy ass and hit the gym? I swear to everything I hold dear that I will snap out of it and go.” 

Schwarzenegger’s response, according to BBC

“I’m not going to be that hard on you. Please don’t be that hard on yourself. We all go through challenges, we all go through failure. Sometimes life is a workout. But the key thing is you get up. Just move a little. Roll out of bed and do some pushups or go for a walk. Just do something. One step at a time, I hope you feel better and get back to the gym. But don’t beat yourself up, because that’s just useless talk. It doesn’t get you closer to the gym. And don’t be afraid to ask for help. Good luck.”

This man, one of the strongest souls and most massive characters, one renowned for physical strength, he instead showed the power of the human spirit and counseled self-care, kindness and compassion instead, not tough love. And guess what? It worked. That depressed and lethargic gentleman reportedly got himself right back to the gym and felt better than ever. 

How to build up emotional and spiritual strength and resilience?

If we can first agree that strength is not a physical quality so much as more of a metaphysical manner, then we can move ahead to discussing how it is best built up and maintained. It all starts with a mindset.

In spite of overwhelming obstacles you perceive in your way, in spite of the broken places you perceive inside yourself, in spite of your fear of all that may go wrong out there in the world, you can and indeed must decide that you are going to be a brave man or woman and stand firm against the challenges you face.

Easier said than done? Sure. But take heart, it’s not about any of us becoming heroes overnight or thinking that the only way to succeed is by getting it right every single time: it’s about finding just enough inner strength to take that first step of the journey. 

It’s about doing the right thing as often as we can and not giving up on all of it if we fail now and then. And it’s about knowing that, often, in difficulty lies opportunity. Sometimes, to simply survive is to succeed. 

Life is the summation of all of our choices and actions, and if on the balance you did your best most of the time, and you did right more often than not, you will have lived a life of strength and goodness. 

Being strong doesn’t mean going it alone

Strong people are often depicted as solitary, stoic, go-it-alone types, but that conception is really best left to books and movies. In reality, the strong help those that they can and are not too proud to ask for help when they need it.

You are not alone on life’s journey, so why act like it? There’s no loss of face in turning to others whether you need a whole lot of help or just a bit of motivation.

So if a few motivational quotes help you feel stronger and better able to face new challenges or cope with those already extant in your life, by all means read and re-read them each and every day. Motivation is, after all, not a one-time thing: it’s not a shove that starts us rolling, but a steady push that keeps us going. 

The more we can learn to stay motivated, the more confident we’ll feel. And if you think all confident people – or, more to the point, those who seem confident – were simply born that way, then think again. For most people, confidence is learned, honed, and developed. 

It is achieved, you might say, rather than innate. Reading some confidence quotes written or spoken by those to whom you look up can help you build up your own self-confidence, often because you will see just how much these seemingly towering figures are just like you.

Once you have learned how to get and stay motivated and you are confident enough in your abilities and inherent self-worth, guess what? That’s right: that’s strength already. Believing in yourself and being ready to charge ahead toward your goals means you have the emotional fortitude needed to manifest those things in life that will make your life satisfying and meaningful. 

Famous and affirming quotes about strength that will help you see how strong you really are

Go ahead and draw some personal power from these 35 quotes about strength spoken or written so well.

“Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm.” 

– Abraham Lincoln

“With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.”

– Eleanor Roosevelt

“A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.” 

– Christopher Reeve

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

— Nelson Mandela. 

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” 

— Martin Luther King, Jr.


“We need women who are so strong they can be gentle, so educated they can be humble, so fierce they can be compassionate, so passionate they can be rational, and so disciplined they can be free.” 

— Kavita Ramdas

“For what it’s worth: It’s never too late to be whoever you want to be. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you find you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start over again.” 

– F. Scott Fitzgerald

“We will either find a way, or make one.” 

— Hannibal Barca

A brave man acknowledges the strength of others.” 

— Veronica Roth.

One has to understand that braveness is not the absence of fear but rather the strength to keep on going forward despite the fear.” – Paulo Coelho

“You never know how strong you are, until being strong is your only choice.” 

Bob Marley

quotes about strength
(Evening Standard / Stringer / Getty)

“What makes you different or weird, that’s your strength.” 

Meryl Streep

“Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.” 

Maya Angelou

“The human capacity for burden is like bamboo — far more flexible than you’d ever believe at first glance.” 

Jodi Picoult 

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” 

Mahatma Gandhi

quotes on strength
(Dinodia Photos / Contributor / Getty)

“When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure.” 

Peter Marshall

“The undertaking of a new action brings new strength.” 

Richard Evans

“Mastering others is strength, mastering yourself is true power.” 

Lao Tzu

“It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.” 

Edmund Hillary

“Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

“There is a stubbornness about me that never can bear to be frightened at the will of others. My courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate me.” 

Jane Austen

“When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this: you haven’t.” 

Thomas A. Edison

“We do not have to become heroes overnight. Just a step at a time, meeting each thing that comes up, seeing it is not as dreadful as it appeared, discovering we have the strength to stare it down.” 

Eleanor Roosevelt

“You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.” 

Marcus Aurelius

“We don’t even know how strong we are until we are forced to bring that hidden strength forward.” 

Isabel Allende

“It is good to love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is well done.”

Vincent Van Gogh

strength positive quotes

“I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles.” 

Audrey Hepburn

strength positive quotes

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” 

Hellen Keller

“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.”

Arnold Schwarzenegger

“The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.” 

Ernest Hemingway

quotes on how to be strong
(Lloyd Arnold / Contributor / Getty)

“It’s your reaction to adversity, not adversity itself that determines how your life’s story will develop.” 

Dieter F. Uchtdorf

“This is no time for ease and comfort. It is time to dare and endure.” 

Winston Churchill

“It is really wonderful how much resilience there is in human nature. Let any obstructing cause, no matter what, be removed in any way, even by death, and we fly back to first principles of hope and enjoyment.” 

Bram Stoker

“Rock bottom became the solid foundation in which I rebuilt my life.” 

J.K. Rowling

“When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.” 

Audre Lorde

What many strength quotes have in common

Did you notice a common thread running through easily half of these compelling quotes about strength? It is indeed that so many of those quoted spoke about characteristics you may at first associate with the opposite of strength.

Note all the attention paid to fear, failure, and weakness – true strength comes when we achieve in spite of such faults. Note how often adversity and challenges are mentioned instead of each and success – no one respects anyone who has faced no challenges in life, even if they are but challenges created for one’s own self, also known as goals and achievements.

From famed writers and artists to politicians of ancient times and modern to great religious and spiritual leaders and beyond, the same themes emerge when people speak about strength, and most of them revolve around the idea that true strength looks nothing like perfection or repeated success, but rather it looks like persistence that leads to achievement after repeated failure.

Take to heart one more quote. It is often misattributed to one of the most famous philosophers of all time, Aristotle, whereas in fact the actual quote comes from Will Durant, who was at least writing about philosophy in his aptly named 1920s book The Story of Philosophy, via Medium. 

The quote is: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

And taken on its own, it’s a great quote – it’s an admirable and, better yet, an actionable affirmation we can use to motivate ourselves each and every day. But the quote is also a fine one because of the long-term perspective it can help us gain in our lives. 

Thinking about a quality as a habit makes it seem more attainable and more maintainable as well. In other words, you may not feel strong today or tomorrow, but you might next week or next month and maybe you will feel that way all of next year and the year after that.

And just maybe, looking back over the years, you will feel you were strong more often than not, and that should make you feel rather excellent.

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