Used as a source of self-encouragement to strengthen one’s resolve despite past or future setbacks, this quotation has been used and adapted in movies, music, and as inspirational material. Originally written by Friedrich Nietzsche in 1888 in Twilight of the Idols, the quotation was thrust into the spotlight in 1977 with the release of G. Gordon Liddy from prison, after serving more than 4 years for his role in the American Watergate scandal.
Liddy quoted the original German, which caused reporters to scramble for an English translation.
Was mich nicht umbringt, macht mich stärker.Götzen-Dämmerung, by Friedrich Nietzsche
The saying has been incorporated and adapted in various popular culture references, used by artists to express some form of struggle.
Nietzsche was plagued with poor health throughout his adult life, suffering from various afflictions and at times consuming large amounts of opium or chloral hydrate, and suffering from multiple strokes and mental illness. Although this saying was written in the context of war, it could be perceived as an metaphor for his struggle with his health issues.
This was not the only famous quotation from this work. Twilight of the Idols has another famous saying, “Without Music, Life Would Be A Mistake.”