Life is not a straight line. The human spirit moves through all sorts of highs and lows. There are great successes, big failures, personal crises, shining celebratory moments and periods of grief. During the lows, words from pastors, political leaders, authors, scientists and philosophers can offer hope and inspiration.

Here are 20 inspirational quotes from people of all backgrounds that will be sure to help you survive your worst of times.

1. "When I hear somebody sigh, 'Life is hard,' I am always tempted to ask, 'Compared to what?'" -Sydney Harris

When your life is hardand you are going through extreme difficulty, think about the millions of people who would love to have your difficulties. Their hardships may be living in a tent in a refugee camp.

2. "When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be." - Lao Tzu

Change is hard. However, it is often in giving up the things we cling to that new possibilities for growth and success appear.

3. "Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees all others." - Winston Churchill

Think about this for a moment. It takes courage to be honest, to have integrity, to strike out on one's own, to push through grief and to pick oneself up after failure.

4. "The difference between a successful person and others is not lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will." - Vince Lombardi

We can learn anything we need to learn. It takes desire. But beyond that, achieving success takes a persistence only willpower can provide.

5. "Don't worry about failures; worry about the chances you miss when you don't even try." - Jack Canfield

Thomas Edison certainly would agree; so would Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, J.K. Rowling, Walt Disney and Colonel Sanders. Had they all given up after their first failures, look at what we'd be missing today.

6. "Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending." - Carl Bard

The great thing about life is no matter how bad things have been and no matter how many mistakes we have made, we can begin anew at any time and write new chapters in our life book.

7. "Life has two rules: #1 Never quit; #2 Always remember rule #1." - Unknown

When we really feel like throwing in the towel, that is when we have to muster up the courage to go on.

8. "Defeat is not bitter unless you swallow it." - Joe Clark

If you swallow your defeat, you own it. It becomes a part of you. And it sits there to remind you every day that you failed. If you don't own it, then you can discard it and move on.

9. "The best revenge is massive success." - Frank Sinatra

Rather than spend energy and time trying to come up with some devious plot, focus on a new plan for success. That is what Walt Disney did: instead of being a fired newspaper reporter, he built an empire.

10. "Every strike brings me closer to the next home run." - Babe Ruth

How we need to look at failure is all rolled up into this single short statement. Each failed attempt brings you closer to that "home run" in your life or career.

11. "I am thankful for all of those who said NO to me. It's because of them I'm doing it myself." - Albert Einstein

When you are told no, how do you respond? Don't you retreat. Call upon your courage.

12. "It's not whether you are better than anyone else-it's about whether you are a better person today than you were yesterday." - Wayne Dyer

When we compare ourselves to our former selves, we don't have limits-we go after what we want to achieve, not what someone else has achieved.

13. "There are no shortcuts to any place worth going." - Beverly Sills

If you are looking for shortcuts, you won't achieve permanent success. Do the time; you will be grateful you did.

14. "You become a champion by fighting one more round. When things are tough, you fight one more round." - James J. Corbett

Find inspiration to take one more step.

15. "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

Your true strength is shown when you refuse to give up in the face of struggle.

16. "If you're going through hell, keep going." - Winston Churchill

We all have those periods of time when things are so difficult and devastating that we do not know how to get through them. If you keep moving, you will get through it. Today's horrible crisis will pass.

17. "If you're not failing every now and again, it's a sign you're not doing anything very innovative." - Woody Allen

People who make a difference in this world are those who run with their ideas. They take risks; they fail once in a while, and still they pursue their dreams.

18. "Some people come into your life as blessings. Others come into your life as lessons." - Unknown

Look at the difficult people in your life as great teachers; you will learn patience, courage and strength.

19. "This too shall pass away." - Unknown

No matter what you may be going through now-death of a loved one, unemployment, abuse, etc.-it will pass. Sometimes you must take action, but it will pass.

20. "Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, she became a butterfly." - Barbara Haines Howett

When thing are at their worst, if we are patient and calm, the good will come.

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