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It ain't about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward

It ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward

How many times have you heard the phrase, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger?” While it might seem cliché, there’s a kernel of wisdom in this old adage that many of us can relate to. One quote that captures this essence of resilience and grit is from the movie “Rocky Balboa”: “It ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.” This line, delivered by the legendary Sylvester Stallone, isn’t just a call to arms for boxers or athletes—it’s a life lesson that speaks to the human condition.

Understanding the Layers of the Quote

The wisdom contained in this quote can be dissected into three main parts, each with its own lesson that extends far beyond the boxing ring. Let’s examine these layers closely.

It Ain’t About How Hard You Hit

At first glance, you might think this quote is encouraging aggression or power, especially considering it comes from a boxing movie. However, the true meaning digs much deeper. In life, success is not solely about how “hard you can hit”—whether that means your professional skills, your intelligence, or your social influence. Although these elements are undoubtedly important, they can become meaningless if you’re not prepared to handle the adversities that come your way. In other words, initiating action is just one side of the coin. The other side is about reaction—how you respond to the situations you’re put in.

How Hard You Can Get Hit

Most people underestimate the power of resilience. The ability to “get hit” speaks to how well you can endure setbacks, failures, and hardships. No matter how smart, talented, or hardworking you are, life will always throw curveballs your way. This part of the quote reminds us that our ability to cope with these adversities, to absorb the “hits” and still stand our ground, is equally, if not more, important. You don’t have control over the problems that come into your life, but you do have control over how you respond to them.

Keep Moving Forward

This is the culminating point of the quote. Once you’ve accepted that you will face adversities and have embraced the resilience needed to withstand them, the next step is to keep moving forward. It’s not enough to just stand there and take the hits; the objective is to advance despite them. This concept relates closely to the idea of momentum in physics: An object in motion stays in motion. Likewise, once you build resilience and learn to take life’s hits, you’ll find it easier to move toward your goals, no matter the obstacles that stand in your way.

Real-world Applications of the Quote

While the quote originated in the context of a boxing movie, its wisdom permeates various aspects of our everyday lives. Let’s delve into how this saying applies to personal life, professional life, and even societal contexts.

In Personal Life


In any relationship—be it familial, romantic, or platonic—both parties will inevitably “hit” and “get hit” in terms of disagreements, misunderstandings, or external challenges. The success of the relationship isn’t about who can deliver the most convincing argument or who has the upper hand; it’s about how both individuals can navigate these challenges and continue to move forward together.

Health Setbacks

Life will sometimes throw health issues our way—ranging from minor illnesses to more severe conditions. How we respond to these challenges, how we adapt and seek help or treatment, is a testament to our resilience and willingness to keep moving forward.

Personal Failures

Whether it’s failing an exam, not getting a job, or facing rejection, these are all “hits” in personal life. The ability to learn from these experiences and proceed with life is the practical application of the quote.

It ain't about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward
It ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward

In Professional Life

Career Setbacks

Not every project will be a success, and not every job will be your dream role. The ability to take criticism, learn from mistakes, and move forward toward your career goals encapsulates the essence of the quote.

Dealing with Competition

In any career path, you’ll find competition. Sometimes, despite your best efforts, others might surpass you. Instead of dwelling on comparisons or perceived failures, using these experiences as motivation to improve can help you “keep moving forward.”

Failing Upward

The Silicon Valley mantra of “fail fast, fail often” echoes this quote. In today’s dynamic work environment, failure is often seen as a stepping stone toward greater success. How you handle and learn from these failures determines your future trajectory.

In Societal Context

Communities Overcoming Adversity

We’ve all heard inspiring stories of communities coming together to overcome natural disasters, social injustices, or economic hardships. These collective experiences serve as large-scale demonstrations of the ability to “get hit and keep moving forward.”

Current Events

In a world that is constantly changing, the ability for societies to adapt to new challenges—be it a pandemic, climate change, or technological advancements—is crucial. The resilience of a society can determine how well it navigates these challenges, echoing the sentiments of our quote.

Counter-arguments and Limitations

While the quote offers valuable insights into the nature of resilience and the human spirit, it’s essential to acknowledge its limitations and the situations where its advice may not be universally applicable.

When It’s OK to Stop

The quote champions the idea of enduring hardships and pushing forward, but it’s important to recognize that there are circumstances where it may be wiser to stop, reassess, or even retreat. Persisting in the face of insurmountable odds or unhealthy situations could lead to emotional, physical, or financial ruin. In cases like toxic relationships, exploitative work environments, or unsalvageable ventures, the ability to recognize when to step back is just as important as knowing when to push through.

Balance Between Resilience and Stubbornness

The quote could be interpreted as advocating for sheer stubbornness—resisting hits just for the sake of resistance. However, resilience should not be mistaken for stubbornness. It’s vital to differentiate between pushing through genuine challenges that lead to growth and holding on to untenable situations out of sheer willfulness. In some cases, what looks like resilience might be a refusal to adapt, which is counterproductive and can lead to unnecessary suffering.


The wisdom encapsulated in the quote “It ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward” offers a powerful framework for understanding resilience, perseverance, and the human spirit. We’ve explored its multifaceted meaning, delved into its real-world applications in personal and professional spheres, and even scrutinized its limitations. What stands out is the universal truth that life is replete with challenges—some self-imposed and some beyond our control.

Also Read: Not all those who wander are lost

shashi shekhar

Completed my PGDM from IMS Ghaziabad, specialized in (Marketing and H.R) "I truly believe that continuous learning is key to success because of which I keep on adding to my skills and knowledge."

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