“It Ain’t How Hard You Hit…It’s How Hard You Can Get Hit and Keep Moving Forward” | Personal Success | Success tips and life stories from Adam Khoo, Asia's top success coach.

“It Ain’t How Hard You Hit…It’s How Hard You Can Get Hit and Keep Moving Forward”

It was about 22 years ago when I watched my first ROCKY movie (Rocky III) and it really inspired me to get up from defeat (after failing my exams) and to train hard to become a winner in life.

Today, 22 years later, I find myself being inspired once again by Sylvestor Stallone’s latest Rocky Movie (Rocky Balboa- part 6). In this latest movie, Rocky is aged 60+ and retired from boxing. One day, Rocky decides to come out of retirement and to get back into the ring. He feels the need to fight because of emotional issues that he needs to resolve within himself. Naturally, he is criticized and made fun of because he is fighting opponents half his age.

His son (a corporate executive in his 30s) is totally against the idea. His career is going nowhere and he blames his father for casting a big shadow over him. His friends make fun of him because of who his father is.

This is where the 60-year old Rocky gives his son a heart-to-heart reprimand about how he needs to stop blaming and take charge of his life. A saddened Rocky says he remembers when his son could fit in the palm of his hand.

He says that he saw great potential in him and when he first started off in life, he did great. However,at some point, he changed. He lost his way and started blaming other things and people for his own misfortune. Telling him:

“Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It is a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life.

But it ain’t about how hard you hit; it’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward. . It’s How much you can take, and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done.

Now, if you know what you’re worth, then go out and get what you’re worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hits, and not point fingers and blame other people. Cowards do that and that ain’t you. You’re better than that!”

This movie had a huge impact on me just like the first few Rocky movies did because what was said was so true in my own life. ” Its not how hard you hit, but how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.”

I have found that in my life, I have met so many people who were much smarter, talented and luckier than me. What made me more successful at the end of the day was my ability to get hit again and again and to keep moving forward. I never gave up. However, I know of many friends who got hit hard by life and could never find the courage to get up again. Instead, they quit dreaming and accepted a mediocre life.

There were many times in my life when I did get hit hard and felt that I had problems I could never solve. There were times when I felt that life was unfair and too painful to live. What kept me going forward was that I knew that no matter how bad, every problem will not last forever. Every recession will end. Dawn always breaks after the darkest hour. It was this belief that allowed me to keep getting up.

• When I got expelled from school at age 9, I kept moving forward
• When my parents split up when I was aged 13, I kept moving forward
• When my first girlfriend dumped me just before my major exams (and I was subsequently dumped by 2 other girls), I kept moving forward
• When everyone looked down on me because I got poor grades in school, I kept moving forward
• When my interior design business went bankrupt (Losing me $250,000), I kept moving forward
• When I lost over $300,000 in the stock market as an early amateur investor, I kept moving forward
• When my first book, ‘I Am Gifted, So Are You!’ was rejected by over 9 publishers, I kept moving forward
• When only 1 person signed up for my first Patterns of Excellence program 7.5 years ago, and everyone thought that my company would never make it, I kept moving forward
• When I lost all the money I made from my mobile disco business because I was cheated by a supplier I trusted, I kept moving forward

Whenever we see people achieve great things, it is easy to think that they had less problems and less obstacles than we have. That their brilliance, luck or talent gave them super human abilities to sail through life easily. That everything always goes according to plan.

I can tell you from experience that things NEVER EVER always go according to plan. 80% of the goals you set and plans you make will never go the way you want. Things will screw up and obstacles will appear that will knock you down. Its all part of the game of life.

Have you heard of George Lucas, the creator of Star Wars? On the surface, it seems this guy could do not wrong. He had the genius to create one of the most successful franchises in the world, Star Wars that made hundreds of millions of dollars.

Did you know of all the things that went wrong? When George Lucas had the vision of creating the special effects for the battle scenes, the technology did not exist at the time. That didn’t stop Lucas. He set up a company, Industrial Light & Magic to invent and create the special effects needed to make Star Wars.

Did it work? Not at first. During production, everything that could have possibly gone wrong went wrong! At the end of sixteen weeks of filming, everyone had every reason to believe it would fail.

The equipment kept breaking down, the actors could not get along and everything that was filmed turned out lousy and had to be discarded. The movie had grossly exceeded the initial budget, it had overrun the filming schedule, the special effects unit could not create the desired special effects and everyone had the opinion that the movie was too childish.

As a result, 20th Century Fox studios (the producers) wanted to cancel the movie and fire Lucas. After Lucas begged for a chance to save the movie, they gave him three days to finish two weeks of work that was lost. It seemed like an impossible task.

What made things worse was that Lucas suffered severe chest pains in the middle of all this and was rushed to hospital for severe stress and exhaustion. Everyone thought that the movie would fail (even some of the actors didn’t dare to go for the premier).

But Lucas just wouldn’t quit. Lucas hired a triple filming crew, divided the film stage into three sets and directed three scenes concurrently! Within 3 days, he filmed weeks worth of scenes and finished the movie only moments before the movie premier. The rest was history!

I am sure you have heard of Honda Motor Corporation, one of the most successful automakers from Japan. Again what made Honda a success was that its founder, Soichiro Honda was able to take the hardest hits and still get up and move forward.

In 1938, while Soichiro was still in school, when he started a workshop to develop the piston ring that he hoped he could sell to Toyota. He worked 7 days a week, even sleeping in his workshop at times. When money ran out with no success, he pawned his wife’s jewelry for working capital.

Finally, came the day he completed his piston ring and was able to sell it to Toyota. However, he was told that the rings did not meet their standards! Soichiro went back to school for 2 years to improve his invention only to suffer ridicule when the engineers saw his design.

He refused to quit. After two more years of struggle and improvement, he successful won the contract with Toyota. He needed to build a factory to supply Toyota. Unfortunately, his timing was bad. At this time, the Japanese government was gearing up for war and needed all the concrete for the war effort, so he could not get the concrete necessary to build his factory.

Instead of giving up, he invented a new concrete-making process that enabled him to build the factory. With the factory now built, he was ready for production, but again, his luck was bad. His factory was bombed twice by American war planes and steel became unavailable, too.

Instead of giving up, he started collecting surplus gasoline cans discarded by US fighters – “Gifts from President Truman,” he called them, which became the new raw materials for his rebuilt manufacturing process. Again, his timing was bad. An earthquake hit and his factory was destroyed the third time.

After the war, an extreme gasoline shortage forced people to walk or use bicycles. Soichiro saw this opportunity and built a tiny engine and attached it to his bicycle. His neighbors wanted one, and although he tried, materials could not be found and he was unable to supply the demand. He also didn’t have the money to build another factory to make these ‘motorbikes’.

He still didn’t quit. he wrote letters to 18,000 bicycles shop owners and asked them to pay him in advanced so he could build his factory to sell them his newly invented motorbikes. Unfortunately, the first models were too bulky to work well, so he continued to develop and adapt, until finally, ‘The Super Cub’ became a success and took Japan by storm. With success in Japan, Honda began exporting his bicycle engines to Europe and America.

This was how the Honda Motor Corporation was formed. Was that the end of his problems? Nope! As he ran Honda, it went into lots of financial problems. Honda also went near to bankruptcy five times, only to be turned around just in time. Everytime he took a hit, Soichiro would just get up, learn from his mistakes and keep moving forward.

Today, Honda Corporation employs over 100,000 people in the USA and Japan, and is one of the world’s largest automobile companies. Honda’s excellent engineering and clever marketing even resulted in Honda motorcycles out-selling Triumph and Harley-Davidson in their respective home markets.

So, the greater the success you want in life, the bigger the hits you got to be willing to take. There is a price for everything. A Suzuki costs $30,000 and a ferrari costs $1m (at least in Singapore).

Success too has a price. The price is massive rejection, frustration, and hardwork, People never succeed either because they thought that success comes easy or because they are not willing to pay the price!


46 Comments so far

  1. Renu on June 3rd, 2009

    I have read all your post till date. And they are truly inspiring.

    Good Wishes!!

  2. ahshuet on June 3rd, 2009

    Thanks Adam, have read your blog at the right time! 😉 Well, humans choose to listen what they want to hear most..lolz…thanks again cos with your advice/reminder, at least I know that I have to keep on moving forward despite all the challenges which I’ve faced currently. CHEERS

  3. Ghazal Alvi on June 4th, 2009

    Hey Adam,

    My friend recommended me to visit your blog and now I feel that it’s really worth visiting here.

    I agree with you that Success too has a price. Actually it’s a matter of mindset.

    If you’re focused and know what you would like to achieve, then whatever problem you may face, you don’t quit and finally get the desired outcome.

    Thanks for sharing this inspiring post.

    Ghazal Alvi

  4. Shayoof Ibrahim on June 4th, 2009

    Great article Mr. Adam. Truly inspiring, Thank you ‘n keep up the good work!!

  5. Jeffrey on June 4th, 2009

    Adam, your story hit home with me. At a time I should be celebrating being a internet superstar, my naysayers have plagued the net w/ untruths and lies. My closest allies told me “Your time is over and your name will never recover”. But low and behold, the people who I’ve mentored, who have followed my advise, suddenly came out of the wood work and published unsolicited testimonials in response. I never realized I touched so many people in such a way. Though it still hurts to read the attacks from “cowards”, I realize I’m in good company. I’ll keep up the good fight and move forward. Thank you for making the time and effort, you’ve touched my life for the better. – Jeff

  6. Berl on June 4th, 2009

    This is one of the most inspiring messages that you have send to me, thanks. Cheerio

  7. t mathew on June 4th, 2009

    Dear Adam,
    Thanks. it was good especially that you too went through tough times still took all those beatings and still came up.
    Regarding Honda, I understand that he got the war surplus generators that were used to power field wireless sets. He used those small engines to drive the bicycles thus creating the first “folksmotorbike”.
    these were instance success as they became very popular with women and Honda is credited to have put Japanese women “on wheels”
    In any case this doesnt change the fact that Honda still got up after being beat to the ground many times.
    thanks and regards

  8. frank on June 4th, 2009

    Dear Adam,
    Thanks for your articles. You are just too good and I am inspired to always read your articles. Keep up the good work and we shall never give up until we make it in life.
    Frank Kehinde

  9. Imelda A on June 4th, 2009

    Hi Adam !

    your articles always inspiring and encouraging, especially now that I’m struggling to be success as a wife, a mom, and an enterpreneur 🙂

    My dream is to stand on my own feet (although my husband did a great job with fulfilling our family’s needs), also be success with my little tiny bussiness.

    When all happened, I also dream to make a book based on your “self made millionaire” with the application on moms, because I think your book can’t be applied 100% on a mom situation 🙂
    But, still it has to wait 🙁

    Imelda A

  10. Vanson on June 4th, 2009


    This article indeed is inspiring! Never come a better time. You always inspire me to move forward, overcoming every single obstacles waiting for me ahead!

    I’m waiting eagerly for your Millionaire Mindset 2 and Millionaire Investor 2.

    One day, I’ll be as successful as you, and all my successes are because you inspire me forward! Thanks Adam!

  11. Chang on June 4th, 2009

    1000000000000000000000% true to the very core. Great work, Adam.

    We live in an “instant noodle” society. Just put in hot water, voila, out comes your noodles. If the noodles doesn’t turn up right, well, the noodles are bad, water is not hot enough, container does hold hot water, blah, blah, blah, blah.

    Somehow or another, “leverage” has developed into a loosely used or abused term and has replaced “hardwork” recently in many ways.

    Best regards.

  12. PAUL JOBE on June 4th, 2009

    I have no words to express my sincere appreciation to Mr. Adam Khoo!!!!!
    Your insights are amazingly superb!!!!!!!!
    I’ll share them with as many as possible.

    Thanks & Best regards,

    Paul Jobe

  13. Elentar on June 4th, 2009

    Very nice words that u posted here especially with the video. It truly inspires ppl like me. thx

  14. shankar on June 4th, 2009

    Hello Adam,
    It was a great article, really inspiring. we all- most of us are hit, while waking our lives for making something good, but most of us dont get up & go. This is truly inspiring.
    Thanks and best wishes,

  15. Mr K L Chua on June 4th, 2009

    Great article … very inspiring… So, the greater the success you want in life, the bigger the hits you got to be willing to take…
    Just like TaiChi Philosophy – ‘borrowing’ force – let your failure ‘HIT’ you to Push You even much further.

    Mr K L Chua

  16. Jason on June 4th, 2009

    Having failed so many businesses for past 10 years, this post is nothing but the truth.
    Taking hits, abuse, nasty remarks and actions from customers, partners even your employees might not seems as painful as a real boxing punch, but it sometimes hurt painfully 10 times more and extremely tough to recover from the scars.
    But from another perspective, when you mentioned Lucas and Honda as example, my hits seems like almost nothing compared. I will continue to survive, great post Adam!

  17. Adam Khoo on June 5th, 2009

    My books are cuurently not sold in Australia but you can buy the ebook through this blog

  18. Glenn on June 5th, 2009

    You were supurb today man!


  19. Soon Keat on June 6th, 2009


    I attended your SuperKids camp or I am Gifted Junior Programme for the last 5 days. Thank you for your guidance. At the same time, i would like to thank Candice and Danny at the same time.
    Thank you for making me realise that everyone, can and must be a WINNER!!!
    Soon Keat

  20. James Yeo on June 6th, 2009

    Yo Mr. Adam Khoo,

    I have come to your blog on many occasions, read your tons of books like secrets of millionaire investors, self-made millionaires, ebay millionaires, building million-dollar biz & MANY MORE!

    However, this is the first time i decides to leave a comment. I really feel that you are my mentor and idol although I havent even meet you personally.

    You taught me tons of things i need to know to be successful in life. I have 6 more days to ORD date. Being 22 this year, I set a Goal to be a millionaire by 30.

    All your posts are truly motivating me. However, when i tell my frens about you, they always find excuses and say you are lucky or sth else. But deep down in my heart, i know you are truly what you are worth.

    I have also started to work on my endeavours to create ebooks, set up biz & work towards being a fund manager next time!

    Thanks a lot Mr Adam. If you are free sometimes, you can send me occasional emails and stuff like that. It would be really inspiring to see emails from my idol! =p

    I will be successful & financially free like you because you taught me so. Thanks so much Mr Adam.

  21. laymen on June 8th, 2009

    Hi. i am a big fan of Rocky and I like the last episode. The part where the son rebel and Rocky give him a piece of advise . Very true and good advise.

  22. laymen on June 8th, 2009

    forgot to mention. It is at the spot on the street where the Rocky gave the advise. Enjoy

  23. Dylan on June 8th, 2009

    Hi Adam,
    Thanks for your newsletter that you have send me from time to time. It really motivate me when i feel down or stress at times.
    I have recently attended a network marketing seminars and get to interact with peoples at the top.
    So to my surprise they were very motivated and passionate individuals. Unlike the typical marketers you find outside.
    After talking to them, i have found that what they say makes sense and all.
    I want to know what is your opinion of network marketing?
    Is a considered a flawed system or is the system really workable?
    Your opinion will be greatly appreciated. 🙂

  24. Mallikarjun on June 8th, 2009

    Hi Adams
    Your blog was an excellent one, and not to forget your inspirational quotes. Thanks for making an attempt in bringing light into the life of everyone.
    All the best and three cheers to you!!!!

  25. Tan Chan Kok on June 9th, 2009

    Hi Adam,
    This 2 weeks of June are very hard time in my life, because of financial problem. I got ‘hit’ many times and that almost makes me down to my knees. Fortunately, this morning I found this article, and it’s really help me to keep moving forward. Thanks Adam, I believe today will not be the same, because I will not let other people to knock me down anymore!

  26. Shermayne Tan on June 11th, 2009

    Hi Adam,

    Thanks for your post! I’m especially moved/shocked by your revelations about your own hits in life. If all millionaires and successful people were to reveal the hits they’ve gotten before they became successful, it will make the rest of us strives more towards our goals instead of giving up easily. Thanks again for your relentless strife to inspire us!!

  27. Health and Nutrition on June 22nd, 2009

    I was cleaning out my email and can across your email.

    I have never read one of your emails before so I decided to have a look at it before I deleted it.

    I’m so glad I did. Thanks so much for sharing those stories of inspiration with us.

    I’ll be sure to open your emails from now on.

  28. belajar wordpress on June 22nd, 2009

    Hello Adam,

    I see that behind your success today, there is lots of failure in the past and you keep moving forward. Great lesson for us.

    Thanks and keep moving!

  29. sam on June 23rd, 2009

    thx for the article, adam. what if, i feel like facing unseen enemy, & it become a big mental block, telling me that i aint capable to succeed. how hard i try to fight it, it became like a rubber ball that i throw to the wall in front of me. the more hard i throw it, the more hard it come back. its annoying

  30. sad gal on November 4th, 2009

    Thanks Adam for your movitation. I failed my N level in SG, came Australia take Diploma course. fail 1 semester, going to complete 1 semester. just need 5 more marks to pass 1 subject to pass, unfortunately lecturer, don’t give me chance to pass. I felt there no more route for me to go. I failed my N level in SG, fail Dipolma of Nursing course. what Can i do in my life?

    Going later to beg lecturer to pass me by 5 marks. hopefully she will give me a chance.

    God Help me.

  31. Adam Khoo on November 5th, 2009

    You need to seriously learn the right strategies of HOW to study and HOW to prepare for exams. You need to also put in alot of effort to study harder for you to succeed. God won’t help you unless you give your very best and help yourself. You can learn my taking a course like the ‘I Am Gifted Programme’ or read my book ‘I Am Gifted, So Are You!’

  32. Farid Seyidov on November 10th, 2009

    Dear Adam
    I would like to talk about business partnership. I live in Ukraine. It would be great to keep in touch. May I ask you for your personal e mail ?
    Thanks for all the great things you share with us.
    Best Regards
    Farid Seyidov

  33. chen yang on November 18th, 2009

    hi adam,

    After reading your first book “I am gifted so are you” and your blog, I have develop a quite a “huge appetite” for books ranging from personal development to wealth creation and entrepreneurship but I faced a problem of whether to buy more books or to borrow them.

    On one hand, I feel that there are many useful insights and tips in books that I might need to refer back to in future hence the need to buy, but on the other hand, there is an opportunity cost of placing money used to buy books for other investment purposes for compound return and also I do not have enough storage space (thus the need to borrow). Considering the huge amount of new books you read every year(65 new books in 2008) and the hundreds and probably thousands of books coming in future, how have you been able and plan to keep so many books? Up until now, have you bought all of the books that you have read or did you borrowed them from the library? And how did you deal with the struggle between buying and borrowing?

  34. Adam Khoo on November 20th, 2009

    I love to buy books because I draw alot on them but if you want to borrow them then its fine as well

  35. nay min thu on March 8th, 2010

    Hi Adam,

    The post is really inspiring!

    And your personal story has truly inspired me to strive for the best in life!

    Thank you so much!


  36. Rank Builder on August 6th, 2010

    SEO messiah is what you are, bookmarked and be coming back.

  37. […] B?n g?c: “It Ain’t How Hard You Hit…It’s How Hard You Can Get Hit and Keep Moving Forward” […]

  38. Mark on June 24th, 2011

    Its so inspiring. thx for sharing.

  39. Emily on October 4th, 2011

    Hi!Adam!I am Vietnamese!I felt very sad and hopeless
    after having failed my English exam.But ater reading your blog,I have power to stand up now!i believe i will succeed one day!

  40. ramandeep on October 21st, 2011

    Thank you so much …i need it..n i get it at ryt tym

  41. Innocent on November 23rd, 2011

    This is one of the most inspiring stuff I have read in a long time. I appreciate it. Thanks and keep up the good work

  42. faris on February 13th, 2012

    i cry when i read this…..

  43. Sergio Felix on July 12th, 2012

    Hey Adam,

    I’ve always been a fan of Rocky movies because they all teach you how to win while being the underdog.

    Being a huge Star Wars fan I truly enjoyed the example you gave on George Lucas challenge.

    First time on your site and I really enjoyed reading this article, cheers!


  44. Darren on November 2nd, 2012

    Well said Adam…

    If not because of the pains suffered by these people, we would not enjoy a lot of the things we see today which we sometimes take for granted.

  45. Arpit on January 28th, 2013

    Inspiring article. Thanks.

    – Arpit

  46. Nilesh on June 21st, 2013

    Very inspirational. Really my mind got 10 times stronger while reading this article. Thanks a lot for sharing this.

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