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Gizmotude Quotation Archives



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


The shell is America's most active contribution to the formation of character. A tough hide. Grow it early. ~~ Anais Nin


Cats… can read your character better than a... psychiatrist. ~~ Paul Gallico


Character building begins in our infancy, and continues until death. ~~ Eleanor Roosevelt


The hell to be endured hereafter, of which theology tells, is no worse than the hell we make for ourselves in this world by habitually fashioning our characters in the wrong way. Could the young but realize how soon they will become mere walking bundles of habits, they would give more heed to their conduct while in the plastic state. We are spinning our own fates, good or evil. ~~ William James


Character is much easier kept than recovered. ~~ Thomas Paine


Persons of genius... are, and are always likely to be, a small minority; but in order to have them, it is necessary to preserve the soil in which they grow. Genius can only breathe freely in an atmosphere of freedom. Persons of genius are, more individual than any other people--less capable, consequently, of fitting themselves, without hurtful compression, into any of the small number of molds which society provides in order to save its members the trouble of forming their own character. ~~ John Stuart Mill


Type faces--like people's faces--have distinctive features indicating aspects of character. ~~ Marshall Lee


In later life, as in earlier, only a few persons influence the formation of our character; the multitude pass us by like a distant army. One friend, one teacher, one beloved, one club, one dining table, one work table are the means by which one's nation and the spirit of one's nation affect the individual. ~~ Jean Paul Richter


You can't truthfully explain your smallest action without fully revealing your character. ~~ Mignon McLaughlin


Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character. ~~ Albert Einstein


Character is doing the right thing when nobody's looking. There are too many people who think that the only thing that's right is to get by, and the only thing that's wrong is to get caught. ~~ J. C. Watts


A talent is formed in stillness, a character in the world's torrent. ~~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


Another flaw in the human character is that everybody wants to build and nobody wants to do maintenance. ~~ Kurt Vonnegut


Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are sheared with scars. ~~ E. H. Chapin


The world may take your reputation from you, but it cannot take your character. ~~ Emma Dunham Kelley


So long as the body is affected through the mind, no audacious device, even of the most manifestly dishonest character, can fail of producing occasional good to those who yield to it an implicit or even a partial faith. ~~ Oliver Wendell Holmes


What is character but the determination of incident? What is incident but the illustration of character? ~~ Henry James


To keep your character intact you cannot stoop to filthy acts. It makes it easier to stoop the next time. ~~ Katharine Hepburn


We should make a notch every day on our characters, as Robinson Crusoe on his stick. We must be at the helm at least once a day; we must feel the tiller-rope in our hands, and know that if we sail, we steer. ~~ Ralph Waldo Emerson


There is no greater injury to one's character than practicing virtue with ulterior motivation. ~~ Chuang-tzu


He has honor if he holds himself to an ideal of conduct though it is inconvenient, unprofitable, or dangerous to do so. ~~ Walter Lippmann


Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved. ~~ Helen Keller


Character is higher than intellect. ~~ Ralph Waldo Emerson


The best index to a person's character is how he treats people who can't do him any good, and how he treats people who can't fight back. ~~ Abigail Van Buren


All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom; justice; honor; duty; mercy; hope. ~~ Sir Winston Churchill


To understand the character of a cat, to respect her independence, to recognize and deplore her pitiless instincts, to be charmed by her gentler moods, to admire her beauty, to appreciate her intelligence, and to love her steadfastly without being loved in return--these things are not often possible to the Anglo-Saxon nature. ~~ Agnes Repplier


His character was of an average kind, rather free from vices than distinguished by virtues. ~~ Tacitus


If we must accept Fate, we are no less compelled to affirm liberty, the significance of the individual, the grandeur of duty, the power of character. ~~ Ralph Waldo Emerson


If you think about what you ought to do for other people, your character will take care of itself. ~~ Woodrow Wilson


If you create an act, you create a habit. If you create a habit, you create a character. If you create a character, you create a destiny. ~~ Andre Maurois


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


Good character is more to be praised than outstanding talent. Most talents are, to some extent, a gift. Good character, by contrast, is not given to us. We have to build it piece by piece--by thought, choice, courage and determination. ~~ John Luther


Character is that which can do without success. ~~ Ralph Waldo Emerson


The four cornerstones of character on which the structure of this nation was built are: initiative, imagination, individuality, and independence. ~~ Edward Rickenbacker


Candor is not a more conspicuous trait in the character of governments than it is in individuals. ~~ George Washington


Slanders, lies, character assassination--these things are a threat to every single citizen in this country. ~~ Harry S Truman


Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without the strategy. ~~ General H. Norman Schwarzkopf


The best advertisement of a workshop is first-class work. The strongest attraction to Christianity is a well-made Christian character. ~~ Theodore Ledyard Cuyler


Modern thought has transferred the spectral character of Death to the notion of time itself. Time has become death triumphant over all. ~~ John Berger


Instead of saying that man is the creature of circumstance, it would be nearer the mark to say man is the architect of circumstance. It is character which builds an existence out of circumstance. From the same materials one man builds palaces, another hovels; one warehouses, another villas; bricks and mortar are mortar and bricks until the architect can make them something else. ~~ Thomas Carlyle


Civilization can only revive when there shall come into being in a number of individuals a new tone of mind independent of the one prevalent among the crowd and in opposition to it, a tone of mind which will gradually win influence over the collective one, and in the end determine its character. It is only a ethical movement which can rescue us from the slough of barbarism, and the ethical comes into existence only in individuals. ~~ Albert Schweitzer


No matter how full a reservoir of maxims one may possess, and no matter how good one's sentiments may be, if one has not taken advantage of every concrete opportunity to act, one's character may remain entirely unaffected for the better. ~~ William James


The farther behind I leave the past, the closer I am to forging my own character. ~~ Isabelle Eberhardt


People seem not to see that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character. ~~ Ralph Waldo Emerson


Character contributes to beauty. It fortifies a woman as her youth fades. A mode of conduct, a standard of courage, discipline, fortitude and integrity can do a great deal to make a woman beautiful. ~~ Jacqueline Bisset


The seven sins are wealth without works, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character, commerce without morality, science without humanity, worship without sacrifice, and politics without principle. ~~ Mohandas Gandhi


To bear failure with courage is the best proof of character that anyone can give. ~~ William Somerset Maugham


In each human heart are a tiger, a pig, an ass, and a nightingale; diversity of character is due to their unequal activity. ~~ Ambrose Bierce


Character is what you are in the dark. ~~ Dwight Moody


You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him. ~~ James D. Miles


America's beauty is not only in its features; its beauty is in the character underneath those features. ~~ Luci Swindoll


The character of human life, like the character of all life, is "ambiguity": the inseparable mixture of good and evil, the true and false, the creative and destructive forces--both individual and social. ~~ Paul Tillich

A person reveals his character by nothing so clearly as the joke he resents. ~~ G. C. Lichtenberg


To enjoy the things we ought, and to hate the things we ought, has the greatest bearing on excellence of character. ~~ Aristotle


Character is made by what you stand for; reputation by what you fall for. ~~ Alexander Woollcott


The wise have a solid sense of silence and the ability to keep a storehouse of secrets. Their capacity and character are respected. ~~ Baltasar Gracian


Characters live to be noticed. People with character notice how they live. ~~ Nancy Moser


No change of circumstances can repair a defect of character. ~~ Ralph Waldo Emerson


Put more trust in nobility of character than an oath. ~~ Solon


The universe seems bankrupt as soon as we begin to discuss the character of individuals. ~~ Henry David Thoreau


Every one of us has in him a continent of undiscovered character. Blessed is he who acts the Columbus to his own soul. ~~ Unattributed


Never chase a lie. Let it alone, and it will run itself to death. I can work out a good character much faster than anyone can lie me out of it. ~~ Lyman Beecher


Character is a strange blending of flinty strength and pliable warmth. ~~ Robert Shaffer


No man know his true character until he has run out of gas, purchased something on the installment plan, and raised an adolescent. ~~ Edna McCann


Every man has three characters: that which he exhibits, that which he has, and that which he thinks he has. ~~ Franz Kafka (See Said Who?)


Dreams are the touchstones of our characters. ~~ Henry David Thoreau


In our brief national history we have shot 4 of our presidents, worried 5 of them to death, impeached 1 and hounded another out of office. And when all else fails, we hold an election and assassinate their character. ~~ P. J. O'Rourke


Everyone journeys through character as well as through time. The person one becomes depends on the person one has been. ~~ Dick Francis


Character builds slowly, but it can be torn down with incredible swiftness. ~~ Faith Baldwin


Character is what you know you are, not what others think you are. ~~ Marva Collins and Civia Tamarkin


You can tell the character of every man when you see how he gives and receives praise. ~~ Seneca the Younger


How a man plays the game shows something of his character; how he loses shows all of it. ~~ Tribune [newspaper, Camden County Georgia]


Dollars have never been known to produce character, and character will never by produced by money. ~~ W. K. Kellogg


There is nothing so fatal to character as half-finished tasks. ~~ David Lloyd George


Sports do not build character. They reveal it. ~~ Heywood Broun


In attempts to improve your character, know what is in your power and what is beyond it. ~~ Francis Thompson


Houses reveal character. ~~ Gilbert Highet


History is the record of an encounter between character and circumstances. ~~ Donald Creighton


Personality opens doors; character keeps them open. ~~ Unattributed


If a man's character is to be abused, say what you will, there's nobody like a relation to do the business. ~~ William Makepeace Thackeray


It is not true that suffering ennobles the character … it makes men petty and vindictive. ~~ William Somerset Maugham


Good acts have more power to establish a good character than the best arguments from the most eloquent speaker. ~~ Unattributed


Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power. ~~ Abraham Lincoln


Parents set themselves to bend the will of their children to their own--to break their stubborn spirit, as they call it--with the ruthlessness of Grand Inquisitors. Cunning, unscrupulous children learn all the arts of the sneak in circumventing tyranny: children of better character are cruelly distressed and more or less lamed for life by it. ~~ George Bernard Shaw


Eccentricity has always abounded when and where strength of character has abounded; and the amount of eccentricity in a society has generally been proportional to the amount of genius, mental vigor, and moral courage it contained. That so few dare to be eccentric marks the chief danger of the time. ~~ John Stuart Mill


Character assassination is at once easier and surer than physical assault; and it involves far less risk for the assassin. It leaves him free to commit the same deed over and over again, and may, indeed, win him the honors of a hero even in the country of his victims. ~~ Alan Barth


Don't let your special character and values, the secret that you know and no one else does, the truth -- don't let that get swallowed up by the great chewing complacency. ~~ Meryl Streep


To be a big man among big men, is what proves a man's character--to be a bullfrog among tadpoles don't amount to much. ~~ Josh Billings


The test of every religious, political, or educational system is the man which it forms. If it injures the intelligence, it is bad; if it injures the character, it is vicious; if it injures the conscience it is criminal. ~~ Henri Amiel


The naming of cats is an almost infallible guide to the degree of affection bestowed on a cat. Perhaps not affection so much as true appreciation of feline character. You may be reasonably sure when you meet a cat called Ginger or merely Puss that his or her owner has insufficient respect for his cat. Such plebian and unimaginative names are not given to cats by true cat lovers. ~~ Michael Joseph


This I conceive to be the chemical function of humor: to change the character of our thought. ~~ Lin Yutang


Barney is a purely supportive, nurturing character. That makes him socially unacceptable. You wouldn't want to bring Barney to a party. But our society has gotten too intense for young kids. They need Barney. Leave Barney alone. ~~ Brian Henson


Talk about conceit as much as you like, it is to human character what salt is to the ocean; it keeps it sweet, and renders it endurable. ~~ Oliver Wendell Holmes


Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person's character lies in their own hands. ~~ Anne Frank


Firmness of purpose is one of the most necessary sinews of character, and one of the best instruments of success. Without it genius wastes its efforts in a maze of inconsistencies. ~~ Philip Dormer Stanhope


Such as are your habitual thoughts, such also will be the character of your mind; for the soul is dyed by the thoughts. ~~ Marcus Aurelius [Meditations]


Never try to wear a hat that has more character than you do. ~~ Lance Morrow


Character consists of what you do on the third and fourth tries. ~~ James Michener [Chesapeake]


If we are strong, our character will speak for itself. If we are weak, words will be of no help. [Undelivered address, Dallas, November 22, 1963] ~~ John F. Kennedy


I think dogs were put in this world to remind humanity that love, loyalty, devotion, courage, patience, and good humor are the qualities that, with honesty, are the essence of admirable character and the very definition of a life well lived. ~~ Dean Koontz [Seize the Night]


It is not in the still calm of life, or the repose of a pacific station, that great characters are formed … Great necessities call out great virtues. ~~ Abigail Adams


Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing. ~~ Abraham Lincoln