when the going gets tough, the tough get going

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when the going gets tough, the tough get going

When things become very difficult or unpleasant to deal with, people with true resolve, determination, or strength of character will take action and find the means to continue carrying on. Plenty of other companies our size decided to call it quits when the economy started to dip, but we are bound and determined to survive this recession, by any means necessary. When the going gets tough, the tough get going. Our coach's methods often seem extreme to a lot of people, but his strict training regimen ensures that only the most serious and capable athletes remain on the team—when the going gets tough, the tough get going.
See also: get, going, tough

When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

Prov. When things are difficult, strong people take action and do not despair. (Can be used to encourage someone to take action.) The football team was losing the game, so at half time the coach reminded them that when the going gets tough, the tough get going. Jill: I don't think I can walk all the way to the top of this hill; it's so steep! Jane: Don't give up. When the going gets tough, the tough get going.
See also: get, going, tough

when the going gets tough, the tough get going

see under get going, def. 2.
See also: get, going, tough

when the going gets tough, the tough get going

When there are major difficulties, capable individuals are spurred on to overcome them. This colloquialism has been ascribed to Joseph P. Kennedy, father of President John F. Kennedy. He may well have used it—J. H. Cutler said so in Honey Fitz, his biography of the Boston mayor, Joseph Kennedy’s father-in-law—but probably did not originate it. It clearly was one of the various ways in which the ambitious father spurred on his sons, three of whom became very successful in politics.
See also: get, going, tough
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