What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger

A few days ago I was looking for quotes about being stronger after some life-threatening experience and found these two authors from Goodreads website:

“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”
― Genghis Khan

“That which does not kill you makes you stronger.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche

I don’t know whether they are the original authors of that popular saying, but not stopping there, I kept searching with similar keyword in the same website and found more “twisted” versions of it:

“What are you eating?” he ask us.
“Whatever won’t kill me, please” I said.
“Whatever don’t kill you’ll make you stronger” says Eddie, who is always ready with folksy wisdom.
“All right” I say. “Then give me whatever will make me stronger.”
“One pizza, coming up.”
― Adam Selzer

“What does not kill you will make you stronger and more cynical.”
― Jessica Zafra, Chicken Pox for the Soul

“They say what doesn’t kill the soul will make you stronger, but you can’t be a stone-hearted man.”
― Anthony Green

“What doesn’t kill you doesn’t make you stronger. It just fucks you up something rotten.”
― Shane Dunphy, Wednesday’s Child

“It’s the same with people who say, ‘Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.’ Even people who say this must realize that the exact opposite is true. What doesn’t kill you maims you, cripples you, leaves you weak, makes you whiny and full of yourself at the same time. The more pain, the more pompous you get. Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you incredibly annoying.”
― Rob Sheffield, Love is a Mix Tape

“People say, That which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. But they are wrong. What doesn’t kill you doesn’t kill you. That’s all you get. Sometimes, you just have to hope that’s enough.”
― Tayari Jones

I find those quotes really funny. I think many people share their own responses to such hard/life-threatening/indescribable experiences showing how they don’t agree with the popular saying.

Yea, I don’t agree completely with that saying too. I mean look carefully about the thing which didn’t kill you, it was either a very light (forgettable) or a very hard thing. The former one doesn’t need discussing in this matter, but as far as I know the person encountering such hard experience, which might be a life-threatening one, will exhibit at least one of the two outcomes:

  1. Feeling traumatized
  2. Feeling stronger for learning to overcome something painful

Both outcomes don’t kill you of course, however, only the second outcome really produces positive results like what is said in the saying. I think those funny quotes are proofs for the first outcome. Even when someone isn’t changed physically by such traumatizing experience, he/she will at least be shaken mentally.

In any way, even when the first outcome induces a trauma so great to that person, he/she will have a new understanding of how this “thing” can endanger his/her life. Then he/she will learn something new, a threat that should be avoided. So all in all the saying is pretty much valid. At least he/she will be stronger in avoiding similar threat.

Well, obstacles and threats can be overcome either by confrontation or by avoidance, can’t they?

“What doesn’t kill you isn’t strong enough to eliminate you completely. What are you going to do about it then? It’s your choice.”

What do you think?


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