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Character Quotes

HLQ Man sitting above grand canyon shutterstock 48574813 Character Quotes
Even as water carves monuments of stone, 
so do our thoughts shape our character. 
Hugh B. Brown

A lot of people mistake a short memory for a clear conscience. Doug Larson

A man’s character is his fate. Heraclitus

A man’s reputation is what other people think of him; his character is what he really is. Unknown



Act so as to elicit the best in others and thereby in thyself. Felix Adler, American educator and reformer

Always do right – this will gratify some and astonish the rest. Mark Twain

Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain but it takes character and self control to be understanding and forgiving. Dale Carnegie

At the end of life, we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done. We will be judged by I was hungry and you gave me to eat–I was naked and you clothed me–I was homeless and you took me in. Hungry not only for bread, but hungry for love. Naked not only for clothing, but naked for human dignity and respect. Homeless not only for want of a room of bricks, but homeless because of rejection. Mother Teresa

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

Character develops itself in the stream of life. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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

Character is higher than intellect. A great soul will be strong to live as well as think. Ralph Waldo Emerson

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

Character is like the foundation of a house – it is below the surface. Unknown

Character is the result of two things: mental attitude and the way we spend our time. Elbert Hubbard

Character is what you are in the dark. Unknown

Character may be manifested in the great moments, but it is made in the small ones. Phillips Brooks

Circumstances do not make a man, they reveal him. Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

Don’t accept your dog’s admiration as 
conclusive evidence that you are wonderful. 
Ann Landers

Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it. Buddha

Do not repeat anything you will not sign your name to. Unknown

Every man has three characters: that which he shows, that which he has, and that which he thinks he has. Alphonse Karr,

Everyone complains of his memory, but no one complains of his judgment. Francois de La Rochefoucauld

Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself. Leo Tolsty

Everyone tries to define this 
thing called Character. 
It’s not hard. 
Character is doing what’s right 
when nobody’s looking. 

Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves. Carl Jung

God may forgive your sins, but your nervous system won’t. Alfred Korzyybski

Healing may not be so much about getting better, as about letting go of everything that isn’t you – all of the expectations, all of the beliefs – and becoming who you are. Rachel Naomi Remen

How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and strong — because someday in your life you will have been all of these. George Washington Carver

Humility does not mean you think less of yourself. It means you think of yourself less. Ken Blanchard

I admire men of character, and I judge character not by how men deal with their superiors, but mostly how they deal with their subordinates, and that, to me, is where you find out what the character of a man is. Gen. H. Norman Schwartzkopf

I am, indeed, a king, 
because I know how to rule myself. 
Pietro Aretino

I believe the first test of a truly great man is his humility. John Ruskin

I don’t have to attend every argument I’m invited to. Unknown

If there be any truer measure of a man than by what he does, it must be by what he gives. Robert South

If we were all to be judged by our thoughts, the hills would be swarming with outlaws. Johann Sigurjonsson

I have had more trouble with myself than with any other man I have ever met. Dwight Lyman Moody

I have never had a policy; I have simply tried to do what seemed best each day as each day came. Abraham Lincoln

I have no regrets in my life. I think that everything happens to you for a reason. The hard times that you go through build character, making you a much stronger person. Rita Mero

I hope that my achievements in life shall be these-that I will have fought for what was right and fair, that I will have risked for that which mattered, and that I will have given help to those who were in need that I will have left the earth a better place for what I’ve done and who I’ve been. C. Hoppe

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

In vain we build the city if we 
do not first build the man. 
Charles Edwin Markham

It is better to be hated for what you are than loved for something you are not. Andre Gide

It is by not always thinking of yourself, if you can manage it, that you might somehow be happy. Until you make room in your life for someone as important to you as yourself, you will always be searching and lost. Richard Bach

It is far more impressive when others discover your good qualities without your help. Judith S. Martin

It takes less time to do a thing right, than it does to explain why you did it wrong. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I would rather lose in a cause that will someday win, than win in a cause that will someday lose. Woodrow Wilson

Live in such a way that you 
would not be ashamed to sell 
your parrot to the town gossip. 
Will Rogers

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

Never ruin an apology with an excuse. Kimberly Johnson

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

Not being able to govern events, I govern myself. Michel de Montaigne

One can acquire everything in solitude — except character. Henri Stendahl, French novelist

One of the most important lessons that experience teaches is that, on the whole, success depends more upon character than upon either intellect or fortune. William Edward Hartpole Lecky

Our background and circumstances may influence who we are, but we are responsible for who we become. Unknown

Our character is what we do when we think no one is looking. H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Our lives teach us who we are. Salman Rushdie

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

People pay for what they do, and still more, for what they have allowed themselves to become. And they pay for it simply: by the lives they lead. Edith Wharton, American novelist

People travel to wonder at the height of the mountains, at the huge waves of the seas, at the long course of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars–and yet, they pass by themselves without wondering. St. Augustine

People will forget what you said.
People will forget what you did. 
But people will never forget 
how you made them feel. 

Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody is going to know whether you did it or not. Oprah Winfrey

Rule #1: Use your good judgment in all situations. There will be no additional rules. Nordstrom’s Employee Handbook

Service is the rent we pay for being. It is the very purpose of life, and not something you do in your spare time. Marion Wright Edelman

Some people think only intellect counts: knowing how to solve problems, knowing how to get by, knowing how to identify an advantage and seize it. But the functions of intellect are insufficient without courage, love, friendship, compassion, and empathy. Dean Koontz

The more you know yourself, the more clarity there is. Self-knowledge has no end–you don’t come to an achievement, you don’t come to a conclusion. It is an endless river. J. Krishnamurti

The ones you remember most are those who inspire you. You might not always remember their faces, but you’ll always remember their words. Danielle Fitzpatrick

The person who upsets you the most is your best teacher, because they bring you face to face with who you are. Lynn Andrews

The price of greatness is responsibility. Winston Churchill

There is no pillow so soft as a clear conscience. French Proverb

There is nothing in which people more betray their character than in what they laugh at. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

There is nothing noble about being superior to some other man. The true nobility is in being superior to your previous self. Hindu Proverb

The reputation of a thousand years may 
be determined by the conduct of one hour. 
Japanese Proverb

The stories of past courage can offer hope and provide inspiration. But they cannot supply courage itself. For this, each man must look into his own soul. John F. Kennedy

The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good. Ann Landers

The true test of character is not how much we know how to do, but how we behave when we don’t know what to do. John W. Holt, Jr.

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

Thought creates character. Annie Bessant

Thoughts lead on to purposes; purposes go forth in action; actions form habits; habits decide character; and character fixes our destiny. Unknown

To act the part of a true friend requires more conscientious feeling than to fill with credit and complacency any other station or capacity in social life. Sarah Ellis, British Missionary

To be capable of steady friendship or lasting love are the two greatest proofs, not only of goodness of heart, but of strength of mind. William Hazlitt

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment. Ralph Waldo Emerson

To speak ill of others is a dishonest way of praising ourselves. Will Durant

Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value. Albert Einstein

Watch your actions, for they become habits.
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.
Watch your habits, for they become character.
Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Watch your words, for they become actions.

We are shaped and fashioned by what we love. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe,

We are what we seem to be. Willard Gaylin

We awaken in others the same attitude of mind we hold in them. Elbert Hubbard, American entrepreneur, philosopher

What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Matthew 16:26

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us. William Morrow

What the teacher is, is more important than what he teaches. Karl Menninger

When I think of those who have influenced my life the most, I think not of the great but of the good. John Knox

When wealth is lost, nothing is lost; when health is lost, something is lost; when character is lost, all is lost. Billy Graham

When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown-up, we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability. Madeleine L’Engle

When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everybody will respect you. Lao-Tzu

When you judge others, you do not define them. You define yourself. Earl Nightingale

Words that do not match deeds are not important. Che Guevara

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

You can learn more about a person by what he says about others than by what others say about him. Unknown

You can stand tall without standing on someone. You can be a victor without having victims. Harriet Woods

You can tell a lot about a fellow’s character by his way of eating jelly beans. Ronald Reagan

You cannot build character and courage by taking away man’s initiative and independence. Abraham Lincoln

You can’t talk your way out of what you’ve behaved yourself into. Stephen R. Covey

Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in. Alan Alda

Your personal philosophy is the greatest determining factor in how your life works out. Jim Rohn

You teach a little by what you say. You teach the most by what you are. Dr. Henrietta Mears

You wouldn’t worry so much about what people really thought of you if you knew just how seldom they do. Unknown

Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character. Albert Einstein

…when you have a sense of your own identity and a vision of where you want to go in your life, then you have the basis for reaching out to the world and going after your dreams for a better life. Stedman Graham

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This site contains affiliate links. To see more about what this means, see my disclosure policy here.