The Chinese words represent the phrase "when the going gets tough, the tough get going."
The phrase is a play on words involving idiomatic and distinct meanings of "go" and "tough." In context, "the going" means "the situation," "gets tough" means "becomes difficult," "the tough" means "people who are strong or enduring," and "get going" means "become fully engaged." Taken together, the meaning of the phrase is "When the situation becomes difficult, the strong will work harder to meet the challenge."
The origin of the phrase has been attributed to Joseph P. Kennedy (1888-1969), father of the USA President John F. Kennedy, and to Norwegian-born American football player and coach