When the going gets tough, the tough get going

When the going gets tough, the tough get going is a proverb that is a little over 50 years old. We will examine the meaning of the proverb when the going gets tough, the tough get going, where the expression came from, and some examples of its use in sentences.

When the going gets tough, the tough get going means when faced with adversity, strong people rise to the occasion. In other words, people who have a strong resolve will tackle difficult problems. The expression when the going gets tough, the tough get going came into use in the 1950s; the sentiment was first delivered as a motivational phrase in American football locker rooms. Texas football coach, John Thomas, is the first credited with using the phrase, though California football coach Francis William Leahy is credited with using the term around the same time. Today, the phrase when the going gets tough, the tough get going is used as a motivational proverb in everyday speech; it is heavily quoted in business circles.

Examples

“When the going gets tough, the tough get going and I would say that is our travel industry in Canada and around the world over the last 18 months,” ACTA’s Wendy Paradis said in a morning session. (Travel Market Report)

If the saying ‘when the going gets tough, the tough get going’ rings true, then Kia UK is made of very stern stuff indeed. (Fleet News)

“There is a saying, ‘when the going gets tough, the tough get going,’ and tonight’s Volunteer of the Year is definitely the epitome of that statement,” Knowlton said. (Chronicle of the Horse)

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