The heart sign reminds us that there's a lot of hope for the future of our productive careers and happy lives.
The heart sign reminds us that there’s a lot of hope for the future. Getty

The uncertainty and stress of the Coronavirus nipping at our heels while we’re trying to work might be the biggest battle any of us has ever fought. But what about the ones we fight inwardly every day of the pandemic? What about the fears, insecurities, self-doubts and hopelessness? A large body of research shows that proverbs reverse negative internal messages and cultivate hopefulness by providing a broader perspective, especially in times of threats to the self. The greatest minds in history remind us that a hopeful perspective can pull us through obstacles and challenges like the pandemic. Some of the wisest and strongest figures in history overcame meteoric challenges because of their resilience. Many of these heroes left us a legacy of universal truths that helped them survive their own peril: slavery, the Holocaust, the Depression, World Wars I and II, the HIV epidemic and 9/11. These heroes fought and won battles, gifting us with a glimpse into the resilience that helped them scale their individual COVID-19’s.

Positive affirmations from the greatest names on the planet, past and present, can help us persevere through the outside battles and win our internal struggles. Embedded in pithy, bite-sized quotations these kernels of wisdom can calm our minds and soothe our hearts. Although short and easy to read, their echoes are endless. The positive messages have the potential to lodge themselves within you, continuing to live and breathe as heartspeak. They summon your inner resilience, ease your mind and nourish your soul in a deeply meaningful way, escorting you with hope through the ups-and-downs of the daunting days ahead.

“You have power over your mind—not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”—Marcus Aurelius (121 AD-180 AD), Stoic philosopher and Roman emperor

“The world exists as you perceive it. It is not what you see but how you see it. It is not what you hear but how you hear it. It is not what you feel but how you feel it.”—Rumi (1207-1273), 13th Century Persian poet and Islamic scholar

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”—Charles Darwin, (1809-1882), scientist 1809-1882

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”—Harriet Tubman (unknown-1913), American abolitionist and political activist

“Life ain’t about how fast you run or how high you climb. It’s all about how good you bounce.”—Mark Twain (1835-1910), American writer, humorist

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly.”—Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919), 26th President of the United States

“Of all the liars in the world sometimes the worst are our fears.”—Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936), novelist, poet, and journalist

“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it—always.”—Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948), Indian politician and social activist

“Your battles inspired me—not the obvious material battles but those that were fought and won behind your forehead.”—James Joyce (1882-1941), novelist and poet

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”—Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945), 32nd President of the United States from 1933 to 1945

“Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.”—Babe Ruth (1895-1948), Hall of Fame baseball player

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”—Winston Churchill (1874-1965), Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during World War II 

“The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in broken places.”—Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961), novelist

“In the depths of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.”—Albert Camus (1913-1960), philosopher, author, and journalist

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”—Helen Keller (1880-1968), author and political activist

“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.”—Joseph Campbell (1904-1987), American professor, writer, and orator

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”—Viktor Frankl (1905-1997), neurologist, psychiatrist, and Holocaust survivor

“Life is a song, sing it; life is a struggle, accept it; life is a tragedy, confront it; life is an adventure, dare it.”—Mother Teresa (1910-1997), Roman Catholic nun

“The only tired I was, was tired of giving in”—Rosa Parks (1913-2005), civil rights activist

“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.”—Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968), American minister and leader In the Civil Rights Movement

“Hope will never be silent.”—Harvey Milk (1930-1978), first elected gay politician in California

“It’s useful to reflect not only on how anger, fear, and suspicion destroy our peace of mind but also how peace of mind gives us the confidence to act honestly and truthfully.”—His Holiness, The Dalai Lama (1935- ), Buddhist monk and spiritual leader

“Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching to mend the part that is within our reach.”—Clarissa Pinkola Estés, (1945-  ), American writer and Jungian psychoanalyst

“If uncertainty is unacceptable to you, it turns into fear. If it is perfectly acceptable, it turns into increased aliveness, alertness, and creativity.”—Eckhart Tolle (1948-  ), author and spiritual teacher

“What I learned about myself is that my happiness was up to me. So I started asking for help more. I stopped feeling guilty. It was important for me to take are of myself; that’s not on Barack.”—Michelle Obama (1964-  ), First Lady of the United States from 2009-2017

“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”—Haruki Murakami (1949-  ), Japanese writer


  • Bryan Robinson, Ph.D.

    Journalist, psychotherapist, and Author of 40 books.

    Bryan Robinson, Ph.D.

    Bryan Robinson, Ph.D. is a professor emeritus at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, psychotherapist in private practice, and award-winning author of two novels and 40 nonfiction books that have been translated into 15 languages. His latest books are CHAINED TO THE DESK IN A HYBRID WORLD: A GUIDE TO WORK-LIFE BALANCE (New York University Press, 2023)#CHILL: TURN OFF YOUR JOB AND TURN ON YOUR LIFE (William Morrow, 2019), DAILY WRITING RESILIENCE: 365 MEDITATIONS & INSPIRATIONS FOR WRITERS (Llewellyn Worldwide, 2018). He is a regular contributor to, Psychology Today, and Thrive Global. He has appeared on 20/20, Good Morning America, The CBS Early Show, ABC's World News Tonight, NPR’s Marketplace, NBC Nightly News and he hosted the PBS documentary "Overdoing It: How To Slow Down And Take Care Of Yourself." website: