Reflection, reframing, resilience – 60 quotes on coping with a crisis

Waves of crisis have confronted humanity through the ages, but resources and insights have always sprung up in response, as these inspiring quotes show.

Reflection, reframing, resilience – 60 quotes on coping with a crisis

Tuesday March 17, 2020,

8 min Read

Throughout history, crises of different forms have challenged humanity. Some are political or economic crises, others are natural disasters or social crises. How we interpret, react and bounce back from the crises of today are what will define how we survive the crises of tomorrow.


In an increasingly interconnected world, crises throw up profound questions for us all – as individuals, communities, organisations, societies, nations, and indeed, as the human race. From climate change to religious polarisation, from the refugee crisis to COVID-19, humanity is being challenged as never before.

In our own way, YourStory is responding to the COVID-19 crisis by setting up the Resource Centre for Startups and SMBs. When worry, fear, and misinformation are spreading, this online resource helps set the record straight through expert advice, business tips, workflow suggestions, and updates on how Indian organisations are dealing with the crisis.

Many such resources are springing up in a grassroots manner across India and around the world. In addition to this wealth of resources, YourStory presents a compilation of 60 quotes on how to frame, accept, interpret and overcome a crisis.

These 60 quotes are compiled from our own articles and other online resources. See also our framework of The 5 ‘Ts’ of crisis communication: how to tackle and learn from crises, and our Storybites weekly compilation of entrepreneurship quotes. We look forward to your own suggestions of quotes and resources to include during these challenging times.


A crisis is the sum of intuition and blind spots, a blend of facts noted and facts ignored. - Michael Crichton

A crisis often brings out the best in you and you discover qualities that you never knew existed within. - Rajeev Siddhartha

A time of crisis is not just a time of anxiety and worry. It gives a chance, an opportunity, to choose well or to choose badly. - Desmond Tutu

Any deep crisis is an opportunity to make your life extraordinary in some way. - Martha Beck

Any kind of crisis can be good. It wakes you up. - Ryan Reynolds

As for any of us in crisis, hope is the one thing that’s everything. - Craig D. Lounsbrough

As much as we want to keep ourselves safe, we can't protect ourselves from everything. If we want to embrace life, we also have to embrace chaos. - Susan Elizabeth Phillips

At first sign of crisis, the ignorant don't panic because they don't know what's going on, and then later they panic precisely because they don't know what's going on. - Jarod Kintz

At the epicentre of a storm, it is always calm. Find that centre, your centre. That’s where you will find strength. - AVIS Viswanathan

Crises are often resolved only through a new identity and new purpose, whether it’s that of a nation or a single human being. - Rebecca Solnit

Crisis is a messenger. - Bryant McGill

Crisis is not a nine-to-five job. Crisis happens when you least expect it. - Judy Smith

Deep within every crisis is an opportunity for something beautiful. - Kate McGahan

Don't wait for a crisis to realise what matters most. - Brittany Burgunder

Don't wait until you're in a crisis to come up with a crisis plan. - Phil McGraw

Even in crisis, people need entertainment. - Kenneth Eade

Every little thing counts in a crisis. - Jawaharlal Nehru

Every test successfully met is rewarded by some growth in intuitive knowledge, strengthening of character, or initiation into a higher consciousness. - Paul Brunton

Good people turn to love, courage and kindness in times of crisis, not hate, fear and cruelty. - Laurence Overmire

If you are a corporate executive, you need to make crisis preparedness and crisis management an integral part of your business planning. - Rich Klein

In a time of crisis, the peoples of the world must rush to get to know each other. - Jose Marti

In adverse circumstances, every creature becomes something else, evolving or devolving. - Brian Herbert

In crisis management, be quick with the facts, slow with the blame. - Leonard Saffir

In every crisis, doubt or confusion, take the higher path - the path of compassion, courage, understanding and love. - Amit Ray

In times of crisis, it's wonderful what the imagination will do. - Ruskin Bond

In times of crisis, people reach for meaning. Meaning is strength. Our survival may depend on our seeking and finding it. - Viktor Frankl

In times of crisis, we must all decide again and again whom we love. - Frank O'Hara

Inner strength of character cannot be measured by any means but performance in the time of need. - K.L. Toth

It is in times of crisis that good leaders emerge. - Rudolph Giuliani

I've got some bad news and I've got some good news. Nothing lasts forever. - Kate McGahan

Losing your head in a crisis is a good way to become the crisis. - C.J. Redwine

Man is not imprisoned by habit. Great changes in him can be wrought by crisis - once that crisis can be recognised and understood. - Norman Cousins

Our world is endangered by the absence of good ideas. Our world is in crisis because of the absence of consciousness. - Terence McKenna

Reform is usually possible only once a sense of crisis takes hold. - Charles Duhigg

Sometimes crisis triggers the genius within. - Bernard Kelvin Clive

Sometimes you need a little crisis to get your adrenaline flowing and help you realise your potential. - Jeannette Walls

Sooner or later comes a crisis in our affairs, and how we meet it determines our future happiness and success. Since the beginning of time, every form of life has been called upon to meet such crisis. - Robert Collier

Successful people recognise crisis as a time for change - from lesser to greater, smaller to bigger. - Edwin Louis Cole

The broader challenge is to lay down a longer-term strategy that endures after the crisis of the moment. - Fareed Zakaria

The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word 'crisis.' One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger - but recognise the opportunity. - John F. Kennedy

The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis. - Dante Alighieri

The power we discover inside ourselves as we survive a life-threatening experience can be utilised equally well outside of crisis, too. - Michele Rosenthal

The secret of crisis management is not good vs. bad, it’s preventing the bad from getting worse. - Andy Gilman

The story which we think is over is only a chapter in a story which will not be over. - Robert Penn Warren

Times of crisis, of disruption or constructive change, are not only predictable, but desirable. They mean growth. Taking a new step, uttering a new word, is what people fear most. - Fyodor Dostoevsky

To be effective in crisis management in the digital age means being able to use social media strategically. - Chris Syme

Treat this crisis as practice for the next crisis. - John Parenti

We discover our greatness when we find ourselves in a situation bigger than we are and we manage to grow and become bigger than the situation. - Luigina Sgarro

We live in an interconnected world, in an interconnected time, and we need holistic solutions. -Naomi Klein

We've got to be judged by how we do in times of crisis. - Johnnie Cochran

When everything is wiped blank, it's life 's way of forcing you to become acquainted with and aware of who you are now, who you can become. What is the fulfillment of your soul? - Jennifer DeLucy

When it all closes in, there are only two kinds of people: best friends and everyone else. - Emery Lord

When it comes right down to it, the only way to face a crises that makes any sense at all - is together. And the only direction to face - is up. - Phil Callaway

When someone is in crisis, don't start by teaching, leveraging, or explaining. Just be with. - John Ortberg

When there is a crisis, let your heart pray, but let your hands work. - John Kramer

When you face a crisis, you know who your true friends are. - Magic Johnson

You can always tell more about a person when they are dealing with an emotional crisis. - Bruce Morgan

You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it's an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before. - Rahm Emanuel

YourStory has also published the pocketbook ‘Proverbs and Quotes for Entrepreneurs: A World of Inspiration for Startups’ as a creative and motivational guide for innovators (downloadable as apps here: Apple, Android).