Character Archives

Every great mistake has a halfway moment, a split second when it can be recalled and perhaps remedied. -- Pearl Buck

The self-referential seldom see the truth in others. -- Bill Purdin

Only when the tide goes out do we discover who's been swimming naked.
-- Warren Buffet

A loud voice cannot compete with a clear voice, even if it's a whisper.
-- Barry Neil Kaufman

Sapere Aude. (Dare to think for yourself.) -- Anonymous

Every person takes the limits of their own field of vision for the limits of the world. -- Arthur Schopenhauer

No persons are more frequently wrong, than those who will not admit they are wrong.
-- Francois De La Rochefoucauld
Obtain from yourself all that makes complaining useless. No longer implore from others
what you yourself can obtain. -- Andre Gide

The more things a man is ashamed of, the more respectable he is.
-- George Bernard Shaw
he post of honor is a private station. -- Joseph Addison

The power to bring me out of solitude - or to push me back into it - had never belonged to another person. It was mine and only mine. -- Martha Beck

Never grow a wishbone, daughter, where your backbone ought to be.
-- Clementine Paddleford

Follow the path of the unsafe, independent thinker. Expose your ideas to the dangers of controversy. Speak your mind and fear less the label of 'crackpot' than the stigma of conformity. And on issues that seem important to you, stand up and be counted at any cost. -- Thomas J. Watson

Boredom is a sign of satisfied ignorance, blunted apprehension, crass sympathies, dull understanding, feeble powers of attention, and irreclaimable weakness of character.
-- James Bridie

People with courage and character always seem sinister to the rest. -- Hermann Hesse

To be able to practice five things everywhere under heaven constitutes perfect virtue...
[They are] sobriety, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness, and kindness.
-- Confucius
The brightest crowns that are worn in heaven have been tried, and smelted, and polished, and glorified through the furnace of tribulation. -- Edward Chapin

When we see men of a contrary character, we should turn inwards and examine ourselves. -- Confucius

Character is forged in the smallest of struggles. Then, when the big challenges come, we're ready. -- Waiter Rant

When the character of a man is not clear to you, look at his friends. -- Japanese Proverb

Nature magically suits a man to his fortunes, by making them the fruit of his character.
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: You don't give up.
-- Anne Lamott
Depend not on fortune, but on conduct. -- Publilius Syrus

The hardest job kids face today is learning good manners without seeing any.
-- Fred Astaire

In reality, serendipity accounts for one percent of the blessings we receive in life, work and love. The other 99 percent is due to our efforts. -- Peter McWilliams
Never feel self-pity, the most destructive emotion there is. How awful to be caught up in the terrible squirrel cage of self. -- Millicent Fenwick
A young woman was complaining to her father about how difficult her life had become. He said nothing, but took her to the kitchen and set three pans of water to boiling. To the first pan, he added carrots; to the second, eggs; and to the third, ground coffee. After all three had cooked, he put their cntents into separate bowls and aksed his daughter to cut into the eggs and carrots and to smell the coffee. "What does this mean?" she asked impatiently.

"Each food," he said, "teaches us something about facing adversity as repesented by the boiling water." The carrot went in hard but came out soft and weak. The eggs went in fragile but came out hardened. The coffee, however, changed the water into something better.

"Which will you be like as you face life?" he asked. "Will you give up, become hard -- or transform adversity into triumph? As the chef of your own life, what will you bring to the table?" -- Anonymous
Live among men as if God beheld you; speak to God as if men were listening. -- Seneca

Learn the art of patience. Apply discipline to your thoughts when they become anxious
over the outcome of a goal. Impatience breeds anxiety, fear, discouragement and failure. Patience creates confidence, decisiveness, and a rational outlook, which eventually leads to success. -- Brian Adams

No trumpets sound when the important decisions of our life are made.
Destiny is made known silently. -- Agnes de Mille

There is a big difference between a popinjay and a peacock. -- Bill Purdin

The strongest principle of growth lies in human choice. -- George Eliot

Character consists of what you do on the third and fourth tries. -- James A. Michener
What other dungeon is so dark as one's own heart! What jailer so inexorable as one's self! -- Nathaniel Hawthorne

It is better to deserve honors and not have them than to have them and not to deserve them. -- Mark Twain

Virtue is more to man than either water or fire. I have seen men die from treading on water and fire, but I have never seen a man die from treading the course of virtue.
-- Confucius

You can't choose the ways in which you'll be tested. -- Robert J. Sawyer

Nature magically suits a man to his fortunes, by making them the fruit of his character.
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Acquire inner peace and a multitude will find their salvation near you.
-- Catherine de Hueck Doherty

The man who backbites an absent friend, nay, who does not stand up for him when another blames him, the man who angles for bursts of laughter and for the repute of a wit, who can invent what he never saw, who cannot keep a secret -- that man is black at heart: mark and avoid him. -- Cicero

Wisdom is knowing what to do next; virtue is doing it. -- David Starr Jordan

Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you. -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

If you don't accept responsibility for your own actions, then you are forever chained to a position of defense. -- Holly Lisle

Character is forged in the smallest of struggles. Then, when the big challenges come, we're ready. -- Waiter Rant

Man is his own star and the soul that can render an honest and perfect man commands
all light, all influence, all fate. -- John Fletcher

Our greatest pretenses are built up not to hide the evil and the ugly in us, but our emptiness. The hardest thing to hide is something that is not there. -- Eric Hoffer

The minute you settle for less than you deserve, you get even less than you settled for.
-- Maureen Dowd

Keep five yards from a carriage, ten yards from a horse, and a hundred yards from an elephant; but the distance one should keep from a wicked man cannot be measured.
-- Indian Proverb

The brightest crowns that are worn in heaven have been tried, and smelted, and polished, and glorified through the furnace of tribulation. -- Edward Chapin

Every minute you are thinking of evil, you might have been thinking of good instead.
Refuse to pander to a morbid interest in your own misdeeds. Pick yourself up, be sorry, shake yourself, and go on again. -- Evelyn Underhill

What I know for sure is that what you give comes back to you. -- Oprah Winfrey

The greatest of faults, I should say, is to be conscious of none. -- Thomas Carlyle

What one does is what counts and not what one had the intention of doing
-- Pablo Picasso

A man's greatest strength develops at the point where he overcomes his greatest weakness. -- Elmer G. Letterman

The right thing and the easy thing are never the same thing. -- Bill Purdin

No revenge is more honorable than the one not taken. -- Spanish Proverb

Play the ball as it lies. Accept the weather as it is. -- Jack Nicholas



The Contrary Virtues were derived from the Psychomachia ("Battle for the Soul"), an epic poem written by Prudentius (c. 410). Practicing these virtues is alledged to protect one against temptation toward the Seven Deadly Sins: humility against pride, kindness against envy, abstinence against gluttony, chastity against lust, patience against anger, liberality against greed, and diligence against sloth.

Character is doing what is right when no one is looking. - J.C. Watts

Love all, trust a few. Do wrong to none. -- William Shakespeare

You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. -- Plato

You cannot run away from a weakness; you must sometimes fight it out or perish. And if that be so, why not now, and where you stand? -- Robert Louis Stevenson

A man is only as good as what he loves. -- Saul Bellow

- by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream---and not make dreams your master;
If you can think---and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build'em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings---nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And---which is more---you'll be a Man, my son!

Character, the willingness to accept responsibility for one's own life, is the source from which self-respect springs. -- Joan Didion

What hypocrites we seem to be whenever we talk of ourselves. -- Augustus and Julius Hare

Good habits result from resisting temptation. -- Ancient Proverb

Anger begins with folly, and ends with repentance. -- H. G. Bohn

Good people are good because they've come to wisdom through failure.
-- William Saroyan

Do something every day that you don't want to do; this is the golden rule for acquiring the habit of doing your duty without pain. -- Mark Twain

A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval. -- Mark Twain

Remember, a closed mouth gathers no foot. -- Steve Post

Always favor inclusiveness over exclusiveness; "and" over "but", equality over inequality, understanding over pre-judgment and dismissal, life over death, self-expression over self-repression, openness over closed-door-dealing, open and freewheeling debate over ideology, faith over religiosity, relativity over absolutes, quality over quantity, cooperation over competition, win-win over win-lose, and peace over war. And, remember, there is no scale so small on which these issues are not worth fighting for. Learning to judge not by appearance is a lifelong battle that will not be won in great events, but second-by-second, minute-by-minute, and thought-by-thought. -- Bill Purdin

Cowardice asks, Is it safe? Expediency asks, Is it politic? Vanity asks, Is it popular? But Conscience asks, Is it right? -- Alexander Punshon

Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope...and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance. -- Robert F. Kennedy

The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson

It has been my experience that folks who have no vices have few virtues.
-- Abraham Lincoln

Kind thoughts are rarer than either kind words or deeds. They imply a great deal of thinking about others. This in itself is rare, but they also imply a great deal of thinking about others without the thoughts being criticisms. This is rarer still. -- E. W. Faber

Beware lest you lose the substance by grasping at the shadow. -- Aesop

Talent is formed in still waters; character in the world's torrent. -- Goethe

A person of honor regrets a discreditable act even when it worked. -- Anonymous

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