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Top 10 Quotes from Leaders Who Turned Challenges into Opportunities

If you believe life is a journey, then you must also accept that life’s challenges will be a part of that journey. There’s simply no way to avoid them.


Understanding that you will encounter obstacles is the first step to overcoming them and – as any leading motivational speaker or virtual motivational speaker will tell you – denial is never a good foundation for taking a step in the right direction.


One of the reasons highly successful people rise to the top is often simply because they always choose to look on the bright side of their failures and find ways to turn them into opportunities. In this article, you will find 10 quotes from highly successful people whose attitutude towards failure undoubtably forged their characters and contributed to who they would become.


1. Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another stepping stone to greatness – Oprah Winfrey

We all know who Oprah Winfrey is but not everyone knows about the obstacles she had to overcome to get to where she is today. Winfrey overcame childhood poverty and abuse to become a local news reporter before evolving into one of the most successful people in the history of television.


2. We must accept finite disappointment but never lose infinite hope – Martin Luther King Jr.

During his political activism and fight for equality, Dr. King faced many setbacks including death threats and repeated arrests. Rather than disuade him from being a leader in the civil rights movement, each challenge strengthened his resolve, made him work harder and propelled him towards his ultimate goal.


3. Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all – Dale Carnegie

Born to an impoverished family on a farm in Missouri, Carnegie did not let the circumstances of his birth stop him from becoming a world famous writer and lecturer. In fact, his book How to Win Friends and Influence People continues to be a best selling self-help book almost 70 years after his death.


4. The pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty – Winston Churchill

Churchill is one of the most famous leaders in history. Best known as Britain’s Prime Minister during World War II, he was also a Nobel winning author following a successful military career. It is difficult to think of anyone who had to face a greater challenge than saving Britain from Nazi invasion but Churchill was up to the task. Far from being depleated by his efforts during the war, he went on to serve another term as Prime Minister from 1951-1955.


5. There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure – Paulo Coelho

Becoming a writer was Paulo Coelho’s childhood dream but it wasn’t one shared by his family. In fact, they were so against it, they had him committed to a mental institution. Eventually, he was released and began his career as a songwriter but it wasn’t long before he had to face another huge obstacle. Due to the political nature of his lyrics, he was tortured and jailed by the Brazilian government. Coelho switched to writing books in the 1980s and has gone on to become one of the bestselling authors in modern literature with his book The Alchemist available in 67 different languages.


6. Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly – Robert F. Kennedy

Achieving greatness was one of Robert F. Kennedy’s guiding principles and it led him to become one of the most prominent figures in the Democratic Party. Known for his liberal attitudes and anti-corruption stance as well as his advocacy for the civil rights movement, social justice and human rights, Kennedy faced many challenges on his road to becoming his party’s presidential candidate.


7. The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling but in rising every time we fall – Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela, the famous South African activist, lawyer, philanthropist and politician knew more than most how failure tastes. While fighting segregation in his country, Mandela was sentenced to life imprisonment. However, after 27 years in jail, he was released and became South Africa’s first post-apartheid president.


8. Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It’s quite simple, really: Double your rate of failure. You are thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn’t at all. You can be discouraged by failure, or you can learn from it, so go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because remember, that’s where you will find success – Thomas J. Watson

Thomas J. Watson, the former CEO of IBM, had many low-level jobs on his path to becoming chairman of one of the world’s largest companies. Among other things, he was a travelling salesman and a butcher. Despite his lowly beginnings, he never stopped working on his sales skills which eventually resulted in him leading IBM to unprecedented financial growth and success.


9. 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

Not only was she born during the peak years of racial tensions in the United States, Angelou also had a very turbulent childhood. She was sexually abused at age eight and stopped talking for five years as a result of the trauma she suffered. However, this was when she found her affection for literature and she went on to write many well-known books of poetry, essays, autobiographies, plays, TV shows and movies.


10. Start by doing what is necessary, then do what is possible and suddenly you are doing the impossible – St. Francis of Assisi

Francis of Assisi was a Catholic preacher, deacon and eventually Saint who after being captured and tortured during a war with a neighboring kingdom was forced to beg on the streets of Rome to survive. He would go on to found the Franciscan Orders and become one of the most venerated of all Catholic Saints.

CONCLUSION: According to many top motivational speakers or virtual motivational speakers, the ability to make lemonade out of lemons is a key contributing factor to any successful life. Obviously, the examples cited in this blog are at the top end of the scale but that doesn’t make this approach any less applicable to the rest of us.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Natasa Tomic is a journalist and content producer who specializes in writing about business and sales.



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