The 12 Most Inspiring Quotes from Diana Nyad

By , SparkPeople Blogger
It may have taken her five tries and 35 years, but 64-year-old Diana Nyad never gave up on her goal and her dream of swimming the 103 miles of Florida Straits, from Cuba to Florida, without a shark cage.

She tried to make the swim the first time in 1978 but wasn’t successful, so she moved on with her life and pursued other interests. However, after turning 60 and losing her mother, the dream came alive again, as she explains in this TED talk from October 2011. 

To reach her goal, Diana would have to overcome physical, emotional and mental barriers.  Her mantra for her fifth attempt was to ''find a way''-- and find a way she did! Hundreds of people greeted her on the Key West beach Monday, September 2, 2013, after her 53-hour swim. Millions around the world have been inspired by the interviews she has given since.

We have gathered some of her most inspiring quotes from her interviews to help motivate you to keep moving forward toward your goals, both big and small.

1) ''We should never, ever give up!''

2) ''You never are too old to chase your dreams.''

3) ''It looks like a solitary sport but it’s a team [effort].''

4) ''You can’t start to get into negative spaces…telling yourself it hurts too much, maybe another day… because even people with an iron will [can] talk themselves out of stuff and quit when things get tough.''

5) ''All those factors out there [in life], you can’t control them, but you have to have intelligent answers to them, you have to have solutions.''

6) ''All of us suffer heartaches and difficulties in our lives. If you say to yourself, 'find a way,' you’ll make it through.''

7) ''Life is not over at this age [64] by any means.''

8) ''I believe endurance grows and we can never discount the mental…the powers of concentration and perspective of what it all means.  What you are capable of is infinitely higher at this age [64] than when you are a young twenty-something.''

9) ''So many people discuss the journey and the destination. The destination was always my vision. The journey that took me several years was thrilling. The discovery, the people, the looking inside at what you’re made of made reaching the destination—euphoric.''

10) ''Whenever you’re pushing through the tough moments, find a way. If something is important to you and it looks impossible and you’re up against it, step back for a minute and ask yourself if you have the resolve to think of every -nth degree to get through this. And most times, we do.''

11) ''People give up too quickly.''

12) ''I wanted to teach myself some life lessons at the age of 60 and one of them was that you don’t give up.''

Her calling to chase and achieve an elevated, extreme dream required conviction, unwavering passion and allowed her to be her best self.  She didn't do it perfectly. She made mistakes and failed along the journey. But what a role model she is about never giving up on your dreams! Congratulations, Diane!

Are you setting goals that allow you to be your best self? Are you inspired by Nyad's accomplishment?

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LEANJEAN6 6/21/2018
truly amazing Report
Awesome Report
DEE107 11/16/2017
good article Report
It is so true that if you really want something and are passionate about achieving your goal you will, excuses will only pull down, find ways instead Report
CACUJIN 9/16/2017
I have always believed that age was an excuse not an obstacle.

I also am not inspired by the quotes or the swim. I am happy for her that she accomplished her goal, however pointless the goal. Report
KITT52 8/21/2017
she is a she-ro for sure Report
SUNSET09 7/17/2017
She's just proof that age is nothing but a number! You, go SparkFriend! Report
Great article! Report
I'm 72 y/0, can I summit Mt. Rainier?? Report
Such a strong woman and a testament to never giving up to finally achieve your goals! Inspiration for myself and reaching some of my important goals! Report
I love her perseverance! Good on her for reaching her goals! She showed me that you are never to old to reach a goal you think is impossible. It reminds me of a quote I love: "The dream that you think is just too big and impossible to achieve is just the right size"! This definitely pertains to her. Report
What an amazing woman! Report
Great to see her reach her goals Report
Such an awesome woman!!!!! Report
My only comment - sometimes you have to give up on a certain dream. I hoped to run a final marathon at 65 - I was lucky to be able to walk to the bus due to my normal which is a moving target. My real dream is to be pain free without drugs or alcohol of any kind. My reality is that I have learned to manage this pain so it doesn't overwhelm my life ... without drugs or alcohol. I'm still me, but the me I am today isn't necessarily the me I will be later in the day or tomorrow. However you can remember a quote from a dear friend of mine who had ALS - She knew she was terminal. It was when not if. But she was so upbeat that you never felt sorry for her. And she was the first to caution you - you never know when you might get hit by a truck. Happy end to Wednesday. Report
Unfortunately, in one ear and out the other, but we wish her well.....average person, doesn't last. Report
And now she's on Dancing With the Stars!!! This is amazing!!! Report
I found this "most inspiring." I admire her physical endurance and mental toughness. Thanks for sharing! Report
Incredible woman!! Definitely an inspiration to me on my weight loss journey. I have tried and given up many times....this time I will keep going,,,,no matter what! Thank you Dyan!!!!!!!! Report
Incredible woman!! Definitely an inspiration to me on my weight loss journey. I have tried and given up many times....this time I will keep going,,,,no matter what! Thank you Dyan!!!!!!!! Report
I turn 64 in two weeks. I'm not doing any distance swimming, but I AM going to conquer this obesity that has plagued me since I had my babies when I was in my 20s. Thank you, Dyana! Report
What an amazing woman! Report
It is amazing what she could do with perseverenve. She wouldn't give up. Report
Definitely an inspiration to all of us who are struggling to meet a goal, whatever that may be! Report
never, ever give up on your dream Report
I find her accomplishment against all odds very inspiring and motivating. I shall think of her when life gets tough and my journey to fulfill my dreams seem hard to attain. Report
I find her story so very inspiring. Report
Diana Nyad is a new hero ! We are almost the same age (I am 58) and I think it is phenomenal what she has accomplished. she never gave up her goal. I have watched her career, and after seeing her complete the swim from Cuba to Florida , I KNOW that can obtain my goals. I am NOT nuts for returning to college when I was 55, I am NOT nuts to think that I can write a book , I am CORRECT in thinking that the years ahead can be even more fulfilling than the previous 58! You go Diana. Report
I am so happy for Ms. Nyad. I was a teen when she first tried this swim. I thought she nuts, because that wasn't something girls did, and she should work more on being pretty. (I shake my head when I think of the chances I passed up because of my narrow image of what girls are 'supposed' to do!)

Diana Nyad's picture will go up on my wall between Dexter Benjamin, the one-legged NYC bike messenger, and a poster of Tyler Hamilton on a Tour de France stage in which he broke away during a stage in the Pyrenees Mountains and won the stage - two weeks after breaking his collarbone. TOUGH DOES NOT QUIT! Report
ALWAYS Dream BIG!!! And I do and will continue to REACH Higher and never let go of ANY dreams! Thanks for sharing. Such motivation for us ALL! :) Report
I'm 3 years younger than Diana, and I find her incredibly inspiring. She is a credit to people (not just women) who don't retire from life when they hit their 60s. Not only did she continue to work to reach her goal, she did not let previous disappointments discourage her. I know several women who are younger than I am who have given up on themselves. They have a lot of weight to lose, and when they see that far-off goal, they just think "why bother?"

I may not be in the best shape of my life, and I'm a 15-year cancer survivor, but I'll be dam**d if I'm going to sit around and wait for the undertaker. He's going to have to chase me a long time before he catches me. LOL!!

Diana - you rock!!! Report
I read this quote about Diana Nyad and loved it: "The toughest athlete in the world is a 64 year old woman." I find her to be so inspiring. Report
She definately inspired me! Report
I watched her interview on Good Morning America and was moved to tears. She is such an inspiration!!! I love the quotes that you shared--I wrote "Find a Way" on my calendar. All the goals that I have set for myself are attainable as long as I "Find a Way" to reach them. Thanks for sharing this with us!!! Report
Not to be a nay-sayer, but I don't get this at all. I get her Olympic accomplishments, I even get that this was a dream of hers, but it doesn't inspire me at all. I don't even know what it's supposed to make me feel. Report
Diana Nyad is three years older than me, so yes, what she has accomplished is inspirational. But what inspires me more than what she did is who she is. What her body was able to do is phenomenal, but when I consider her spirit, I understand what she means when she said that this was p-e-r-s-o-n-a-l.
Our mind-body connection is powerful. I don't give it enough credit to turn impossible into possible :)
She is definitely a powerhouse of a lady! I am also 5 years younger than Diana is, and am trying to get my life to a place where I will be more comfortable with myself.
I have been riding my bike this year in addition to walking my dog, and plan on keeping active over the winter as well. If Diana can reach her goal, so can I!! Report
She is a real inspiration! Report
I love inspirational stories about us silver citizens. Report
I'm currently in a place where this is exactly what I needed to read. She's 5 years older than me and look what she did! I've felt sorry for myself long enough, now. I'm ready to come up with some new goals for this time of my life. Report
A good dose of what I needed to hear this morning! Wonderful story. Report
And here I am worried about learning to ride a bicycle at my age. Sheesh. Report
I'm inspired and encouraged by her to set some special goals for the year I turn 60. Report
totally misread the title. "top 12 annoying motivation quotes" would have been good too. Report
Oh my goodness. You have barely scratched the surface of things she has said that have inspired me. Two of my favorites.

"When I walk up on that shore in Florida, I want millions of those AARP sisters and brothers to look at me and say, 'I'm going to go write that novel I thought it was too late to do. I'm going to go work in Africa on that farm that those people need help at. I'm going to adopt a child. It's not too late, I can still live my dreams.'"

"But for each of us, isn't life about determining your own finish line?"

What an inspiration - It makes my goal of jogging a 5-k pale in comparison -if she can do it so can I!!! Report
I wanna be like that at 60! or 50! What an inspiration. Report
This is truly inspiring especially for those of us who have given up on dreams because we think we are too old or just don't have what it takes to be great. thanks for sharing this here. Report
I love how this woman thinks and I think that I should write some of these things down to look at when the going gets tough. I am trying some things that I thought were out of my realm and that I would never do and I need to stay focused and remember not to give up, not to go into the negative spaces, and I am not too old! Awesome and inspiring! Report
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