Campus Life

10 quotes from powerful women on overcoming adversity

by Andrew Slock

Keep pushing forward, no matter what.

I’m sure that all of us at Humber College and the University of Guelph-Humber have faced some form of adversity in our lives. In fact, I know many of us have had to face difficulties or overcome misfortunes just to become students here. Hell, some of us are struggling just to continue being students here (myself included).

Though, as a straight young white man, it’s not lost on me that I’ve been afforded many arbitrary privileges in life. I know that the obstacles I’ve faced pale in comparison to those endured by people of other races, ethnicities, creeds, and sexual orientations.

I strive as best I can to understand and appreciate the unique challenges that people are forced to deal with on a daily basis. I don’t deny or turn away from the injustices they face and I am learning slowly, but surely, how to be an ally whenever possible.

So while I may not be the most inspiring, or most qualified person to speak on how you can overcome adversity, I believe the topic is of universal importance. And since being raised by strong women my whole life made me the man I am today, I thought who better to speak on the subject than some of the world’s most successful and influential women?

Here are 10 quotes from powerful women about overcoming adversity:

Sheryl Sandber, COO of Facebook.

“Turning feelings into words can help us process and overcome adversity.”

Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook

 

Michelle Obama, Former First Lady of the United States

“You should never view your challenges as a disadvantage. Instead, it’s important for you to understand that your experience facing and overcoming adversity is actually one of your biggest advantages.”

Michelle Obama, Former First Lady of the United States

 

Celeste Ng, Bestselling Author

“Gore isn’t required for a good story, but adversity is.”

Celeste Ng, Bestselling Author

 

Eleanor Roosevelt, Former First Lady of the United States

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.'”

Eleanor Roosevelt, Former First Lady of the United States

 

Diane Warren, Songwriter

“I’m somebody who finds adversity is almost as good as encouragement. It’s almost like, you close the door, and I’ll find ten ways to kick it in and go around it or dig under it or something.”

Diane Warren, Songwriter

 

Maya Angelou, Writer & Civil Rights Activist

“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”

Maya Angelou, Writer & Civil Rights Activist

 

Linda Ronstadt, Singer

“You don’t want people who have never had to deal with adversity – you want people who have been able to deal successfully with adversity. That’s what adds to society. Those are going to be the hardest-working, best people.”

Linda Ronstadt, Singer

 

Christine Lagarde, French Lawyer & Politician

“Grit your teeth and smile. In the face of adversity, go. They don’t deserve you.”

Christine Lagarde, Lawyer & Politician

 

Kimora Lee Simmons, Model

“I was bullied and picked on because I was so different to everyone else, and I definitely didn’t believe or even know I was fabulous back then. But those hard times made me everything I am today. It’s all water under the bridge now, but being bullied and going through adversity definitely made me stronger.”

Kimora Lee Leissner, Fashion Model & Designer

 

Golda Meir, Former Prime Minister of Israel

“You’ll never find a better sparring partner than adversity.”

Golda Meir, Former Prime Minister of Israel

 


Looking for a powerful story from one of our own students? Read Why this single mother came to Humber to change her life.

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