17 Best Examples of Adversity (2023) (2023)

17 Best Examples of Adversity (2023) (1)

Good examples of adversity for a resume include overcoming a disability, rejection, poverty, or striving for success.

Some inspiring examples of real-life adversity include Helen Keller, who became a successful writer despite being blind and deaf, and JK Rowling, who was a struggling single mother before publication.harry potter.

Below is a full list of ideas on how to talk about adversity.

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Examples of cases of difficulty in a CV

Here are some ideas to include in a resume, cover letter, or college application essay to discuss how you overcame adversity.

1. Overcoming a disability

Physical and cognitive impairments can seriously hamper people's lives. For example, when you are suffering.Dyslexia, you will find it much more difficult to read than your peers.

However, famous people with dyslexia like Whoopi Goldberg, Richard Branson, and Steven Spielberg are well known successful people who overcame their dyslexia to become successful.

2. Overcome rejection

Most people in life have gotten over rejection at some point. This could be a rejection from a university, a scholarship, a promotion or a job.

It's important to emphasize that you did something to get up and try again. For example, you might talk in an interview about not getting a college athletic scholarship and instead working part-time while in college.

that can showExamples of his tenacity, perseverance, flexibility and determination.

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3. Prove someone wrong

Sometimes we have a teacher, mentor or colleague who decides that we are not good enough to continue.

Succeeding despite being told you're not good enough is a great way to show that you can overcome adversity.

Examples of when this happened are when Thomas Eddison's teacher told him that he could never learn due to lack of him.cognitive flexibility(invented the light bulb) and was told by Michael Phelps's teacher "...that he would never achieve anything and never be successful".

Phelps won 28 medals at the Olympic Games.

4. Growing up poor

People born into poverty willstatisticalthey earn less money throughout their lives and are less likely to graduate from school than their wealthier peers.

Poverty is clearly a misery that must be overcome by the disadvantaged. They have less access to good schools, tutors, books and resources.

However, some models may show that you can overcome the odds of poverty in order to prosper. Examples include Jim Carey (whose family lived out of a car for part of his life), JK Rowling (who was a struggling single mother before finding successharry potter) and Dolly Parton, who grew up in a one-room cabin with a dirt floor.

5. Being a refugee

Refugees are one of them.more resilient peoplein the world. Leaving dangerous and unsafe conditions in their homes, they fled for their lives. They then had to start a new life in a foreign culture, often with very little money.

Overcoming all challenges and continuing to succeed shows that you have the resilience to overcome life's adversities.

Famous refugees who made it to their rocky start in life include Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, and Madeleine Albright.

6. Being an immigrant

Immigrants and refugees share similar stories. As refugees flee trauma, which means greater adversity, refugees and immigrants must start anew when they arrive in their new country.

Many immigrants have difficulty adjusting to a new culture. Sometimes their professional qualifications are not recognized abroad and, despite their previous successes,social status, you have to start at the bottom again.

Many also emigrate with very little money.


However, we can look to famous immigrants like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Elon Musk, and Mila Kunis as examples of people who have experienced immigration and been successful.

7. Failure as a student

Most of us can relate to a time when we struggled in our studies. It is rare that someone excels in all subjects in school.

When you think of an example of problems in school or college, think of a time when you had difficulty with a school subject. Think about how you reacted: Did you study harder, spend more time on homework, or even have to retake the test?

8. Fired or being fired

Getting fired isn't fun for anyone. But after the initial shock or apprehension, you can reflect on how you regained your confidence.

For example, many people lost their jobs during the 2008 economic crisis and again during the 2021 global shutdown. So this is not a unique experience for anyone.

You may need to learn more, reflect on whether you are on the right career path, or find a mentor to help you overcome your weaknesses.

9. Suffering an injury

Injuries can make it difficult for people to do everyday tasks that used to be easy for them.

The injury may have made you reflect on how much you appreciated everyday tasks.

For example, if you broke your arm, suddenly simple tasks like getting dressed require a lot of thought and reflection.

By discovering new ways of dressing, you will have developed resilience and flexibility skills that can help you overcome the adversities you have faced.

10. Suffer discrimination

Discrimination is a very sad example of the difficulties that people face. You must overcome discrimination based on race, sex, disability, class, or any other factor to be successful.

A great example of someone who experienced discrimination and achieved their goals is Jackie Robinson, who became the first African American to play in Major League Baseball in modern times.

Jackie Robinson endured taunts from players and fans alike, but did not retaliate, knowing that retaliation would set back the cause of MLB integration for decades.

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Today he is celebrated as a peaceful man who broke down discriminatory barriers for the good of all.

Examples of overcoming adversity in real life

11. JK Rowling

There are many stories of writers who have been repeatedly rejected by publishers because of their famous books. JK Rowling is perhaps the most famous.

Rowling was a single mom who struggled until she found success.harry potter. But she had her firstharry potterBook rejected 14 times before finally being published.

Today, Rowling is an example of a millionaire and one of the richest women in the world.

12. Alberto Einstein

Albert Einstein fled Europe before World War II and found refuge in the United States. After fleeing persecution, he helped the Americans during the war and later won the Nobel Prize in Physics.

13. Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, but not without adversity. It took him over 1,000 tries before he finally got a stable lamp that worked. The problem was finding the right flint! Edison said of his struggle: "Great success is built on failure, frustration, and even disaster."

14. Walt Disney

Walt Disney has been through a lothard timesin their life. His father was an abusive man, so Disney went into hiding and drew cartoons. As an adult, his business failed one time and the next suffered many problems during World War II.

In the midst of all his troubles, he doubled down and worked twice as hard to ensure success.

Regarding his life, Disney is quoted as saying, "All the adversity I've had in my life, all the problems and obstacles have made me stronger. You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick to the mouth could be the best in the world for you".

15. Bright basement

Helen Keller went blind and deaf at the age of 19 months. That hasn't stopped her from writing 14 books and being a global human rights activist.

Keller learned to read Braille and listen by touching her lips. She earned a college degree despite being deaf and blind (and she was a woman in her time) and became a disability rights activist. Keller has also written several books.

16. Dr. Seuss

If you thought JK Rowling had a hard life, think of Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as the children's book author Dr. Seuss.

Doctor Seuss had his first book rejected by 20 to 43 publishers. Despite these setbacks, Seuss became the most celebrated children's book author of all time.

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17. Tommy Caldwell

World-renowned rock climber Tommy Caldwell suffered a setback when his left index finger was severed in a machinery accident in his backyard.

Caldwell's career was considered over. Your fingers are of course extremely important to being a climber!

However, Caldwell relearned how to hold the stones without his important index finger. People didn't think he would perform at a high level again, but he was the first climber to free ascent the El Capitan Sunrise Wall in Yosemite National Park.

See also:

  • Examples of Patience
  • talent list
  • Examples of integrity
  • examples of honesty


Adversity comes in many different forms. It can be physical, cognitive or even in the form of discrimination. It's not something that any of us ask for, but our ability to overcome it through hard work andpersistenceis the most important thing. Use the examples above for inspiration for writing about adversity in a college essay, cover letter, or resume.

Chris Drew (PhD)

Website |+ Publications


Physician Chris Drew is the founder of Utility Teacher. He has a PhD in Education and has published more than 20 articles in academic journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education.


What is a famous quote about overcoming adversity? ›

“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.

What are examples of adversity in workplace? ›

Types of workplace adversity

Physical adversity: Sleep deprivation, illness and injury are all examples of physical adversity that may affect your performance at work. Emotional adversity: This type of adversity is an emotional challenge in the workplace, like feeling unsure about your responsibilities in your role.

What is the most common adversity? ›

Economic hardship is the most common form of adversity; about 1 in 5 young children live in a family that has struggled to cover basic needs such as food or housing.

What famous people faced adversity? ›

9 Inspiring Stories of Overcoming Obstacles
  • Walt Disney. Overcame poverty. Winston Churchill. Overcame learning challenges. Hellen Keller. ...
  • Louis Zamperini. Overcame PTSD. Stephen Hawking. Overcame ALS. Oprah Winfrey. ...
  • Abraham Lincoln. Overcame chronic depression. Franklin D. Roosevelt. Overcame polio and paralysis.
Nov 28, 2021

What is family adversity examples? ›

In this study, we defined family adversity as consisting of factors that contribute to an adverse family environment: parental hostility, family distress, and harsh disciplinary practices.

What exactly is adversity? ›

: a state or instance of serious or continued difficulty or misfortune.

Is adversity a strength? ›

When faced with a crisis, it can be difficult in the moment to imagine the experience will eventually lead to some type of growth. Resilience is a person's ability to bounce back from adversity and grow from the challenge, and research now shows that past adversity can help you persevere in the face of current stress.

What are 5 famous quotes? ›

Quotes by Famous People
  • The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. - ...
  • The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing. - ...
  • Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. ...
  • If life were predictable it would cease to be life, and be without flavor. -
Jan 2, 2023

What is the most inspiring quote ever? ›

What is the most inspiring quote ever?
  • “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall” – Confucius.
  • “Magic is believing in yourself. ...
  • “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them” – Walt Disney.
  • “The real test is not whether you avoid this failure…
Aug 19, 2021

What did Albert Einstein say about adversity? ›

Fit For Life: “Adversity Introduces a Man to Himself” (Albert Einstein)

How do you typically face adversity? ›

There are many ways to cope effectively with adversity. When you're faced with a hard or unexpected situation, remind yourself that you have choices – you get to choose your attitude, you can ask for help, and you can often find alternatives. You don't have to be stuck.

What obstacles do I face at work? ›

What are some common workplace challenges?
  • Lack of communication. ...
  • Performance issues. ...
  • Lack of employee recognition. ...
  • Lack of transparency in leadership. ...
  • Motivation and engagement levels. ...
  • Conflict management. ...
  • Stay calm. ...
  • Introspect and analyze.
Jun 2, 2022

What does overcoming adversity look like? ›

Overcoming adversity is about taking an honest look at your own knowledge and skills, acknowledging your shortcomings and working to improve them, every day. In addition to the skills that tie directly to your profession or goal, work on other things that will benefit you no matter what your goal is.

What is early life adversity? ›

In particular, early-life adversity (ELA)—experiences that represent a deviation from the expected environment and require adaptation, including exposure to child abuse, sexual assault, neglect, and chronic poverty—is associated with elevated risk for numerous mental and physical health problems.

What are examples of early life adversity? ›

Examples of early adversity include child abuse and neglect, exposure to violence, and family economic hardship. These experiences can lead to a toxic stress response.

What is child adversity? ›

Common examples of childhood adversity include child abuse and neglect, domestic violence, bullying, serious accidents or injuries, discrimination, extreme poverty, and community violence.

What are adversity times? ›

adverse or unfavorable fortune or fate; a condition marked by misfortune, calamity, or distress: Friends will show their true colors in times of adversity. an adverse or unfortunate event or circumstance: You will meet many adversities in life.

What challenges do people overcome? ›

7 Challenges Successful People Overcome
  • Age. Age really is just a number. ...
  • What Other People Think. ...
  • Toxic People. ...
  • Fear. ...
  • Negativity. ...
  • The Past or the Future. ...
  • The State of the World. ...
  • Bringing It All Together.
Jul 21, 2015

Is adversity The key to success? ›

Remember that every challenge is an opportunity to learn, grow, and improve. While never easy, facing and embracing adversity can lead to success, making us stronger, and better equipped for anything and everything that lies ahead.

How does adversity impact a person? ›

Adversity can have many positive effects on our lives. It can make us stronger and more resilient, help us to develop new skills and perspectives, and give us a greater appreciation for what we have.

How do families overcome adversity? ›

When parents offer encouragement, face difficult times together, help kids believe in themselves, practice forgiveness, and enjoy today, they boost their child's emotional health and improve kids' ability to weather all kinds of challenging situations.

What are the benefits of adversity? ›

Past struggles can help you become more resilient in the five ways described below.
  • They Increase Empathy. Leading and living with empathy have never been more important than right now. ...
  • They Can Trigger Post-traumatic Growth. ...
  • They Build Self-efficacy. ...
  • They Help You Find the Good. ...
  • They Help You Reframe Stress as a Challenge.
Jul 27, 2020

Is adversity part of life? ›

Adversity is part of life. Boosting resilience is a key to a thriving life, especially in our line of work. In this moving Tedx Talk, wellbeing and resilience expert, Lucy Hone, shared her experiences as a psychological researcher and more importantly, the personal experiences she faced as a grieving parent.

Does everyone face adversity? ›

At some point, everyone faces adversity; adversity is part of everyone's life. It's how you bounce back from these hard times, however, that really defines you as a person and will ultimately determine your happiness. One thing I've learned is that it's always our biggest stumbles that lead to our biggest lessons.

Is overcoming adversity a skill? ›

But unlike setbacks, which are single events, adversity can last a long time and encompass many events and changes in circumstances. This is why adversity, if not handled properly, can stop a business from moving forward (and even throw it into reverse). This is why it's a fundamental skill for leaders (and staff too).

What are 3 good quotes? ›

The Best Quotes About Life

“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” “In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: It goes on.” “As a well-spent day brings happy sleep, so a life well spent brings happy death.” “To live is the rarest thing in the world.

What is the strongest quote? ›

21 of the World's Most Powerful Quotes Updated For Today
  1. “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” ...
  2. “Everybody is a genius. ...
  3. “A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.” ...
  4. “He who fears he will suffer, already suffers because he fears.”

What are 5 positive quotes about life? ›

Motivational quotes to start your day
  • “You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” — ...
  • “Inspiration does exist, but it must find you working.” — ...
  • “Don't settle for average. ...
  • “Show up, show up, show up, and after a while the muse shows up, too.” — ...
  • “Don't bunt.
May 18, 2020

What was Einstein's best quote? ›

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.” “He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.” “A happy man is too satisfied with the present to dwell too much on the future.”

What did Einstein say the hardest thing in the world to understand was? ›

At least according to Albert Einstein, who said, “The hardest thing to understand in the world is the income tax.”

What was Albert Einstein's favorite quote? ›

Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe.”

What is someone's adversity? ›

: a state or instance of serious or continued difficulty or misfortune.

What is experiencing adversity? ›

When you cope with adversity, what does that mean? It means that you effectively deal with a very difficult situation; it means you either work through, or work around problems in a way that keeps your life in balance.

Can you provide an example of a time you overcame adversity? ›

This is also an opportunity to explain how overcoming adversity strengthened you as a professional or individual. Example: "Because of my hard work and dedication, I overcame the language barrier and passed the fluency test with a near-perfect score.

What are 4 things that cause family stress? ›

Sources of Family Stress
  • Marital Dissatisfaction. Marital dissatisfaction can be a source of stress for parents, affecting daily interactions and relationships. ...
  • Home Chaos. Perceptions of a disorganized, chaotic home environment can also add stress for parents. ...
  • Depressive Symptoms. ...
  • Job Role Dissatisfaction.

What are some hardships in life? ›

People experience all kinds of adversity in life. There are personal experiences, such as illness, loss of a loved one, abuse, bullying, job loss, and financial instability. There is the shared reality of tragic events in the news, such as terrorist attacks, mass shootings, and natural disasters.

Why is adversity important in life? ›

It can make us stronger and more resilient, help us to develop new skills and perspectives, and give us a greater appreciation for what we have. Research has shown that people who have faced significant adversity in their lives are often more successful than those who have not.

How do you face adversity in life? ›

Learn how to overcome adversity
  1. Be prepared. Working on overcoming adversity happens before the tough situation even happens. ...
  2. Practice positivity. How does a person overcome adversity? ...
  3. Stay disciplined. ...
  4. Stay focused. ...
  5. Find the lesson. ...
  6. Work on your skills. ...
  7. Learn from others. ...
  8. Elevate your peer group.

What are the three types of adversities that are faced? ›

6 Types Of Adversity and How To Overcome Them
  • Physical Adversity.
  • Mental Adversity.
  • Emotional Adversity.
  • Social Adversity.
  • Spiritual Adversity.
  • Financial Adversity.
Nov 26, 2022

What is social adversity? ›

Social adversity, an umbrella term that refers to issues such as violent crime, segregation, exposure to delinquent peers, poverty, and poor parenting (Beaver et al. 2008; Moffitt and Caspi 2001; Scarpa and Ollendick 2003), is one of the strongest risk factors for developing antisocial behavior.

Can you tell me about a time you overcame a difficult work situation examples? ›

Some examples of situations you can discuss include: A time when you dealt with a lot of customer complaints and how you rectified the issue. A time when you had to work long hours to meet a deadline. A time when you had to deal with a difficult colleague when working on a project.

How do you answer overcome adversity in an interview? ›

Top Tips for Answering Adversity Questions
  • Put a positive spin on every answer you give. ...
  • Don't be afraid to take a moment to think. ...
  • Be as specific as possible. ...
  • Make sure your answer relates to the role wherever possible.
Jan 14, 2023

What was the biggest obstacle you've overcome? ›

Here are 8 of the greatest obstacles you must overcome on your way to success:
  • Perfection. One of the most common obstacles we face is the need for perfection. ...
  • Fear. ...
  • Lack of Clarity. ...
  • Making Comparisons. ...
  • Untamed Inner Monologue. ...
  • Unclear Boundaries. ...
  • Unreasonable Expectations. ...
  • Unreasonable Definition of Success.
Feb 19, 2021


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