character - character 3 - character 4  

Out of our beliefs are born deeds; out of
our deeds we form habits; out of our habits
grows our character; and on our character
we build our destiny.

Henry Hancock

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

Katherine Hepburn


Taxes are indeed very heavy; but if those laid on by the government were the only ones we had to pay, we might more easily discharge them; but we have many others, and much more grievous ones to some of us.  We are taxed quite as heavily by idleness, three times as much by our pride, and four times as much by our folly; and from these taxes the commissioners cannot easily deliver us by allowing an abatement.

Benjamin Franklin


To me, the essence of keeping the soul nourished is obedience to one's conscience.  I don't think that the soul can be nourished unless people have a strong sense of conscience that they have educated and developed and soaked in the universal and timeless principles of integrity and service.  This way, the individual's soul becomes part of the universal soul of service, contribution, and making a difference.

Stephen R. Covey


The great secret of success is to go through life as a person who never gets used up.  That is possible for those who never argue and strive with people and facts, but in all experience retires upon themselves, and look for the ultimate cause of things in themselves.

Albert Schweitzer


There is a spectacle more grand than the sea; it is heaven;
there is a spectacle more grand than heaven; it is the conscience.

Victor Hugo


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Self-respect cannot be hunted.  It cannot be purchased.
It is never for sale.  It cannot be fabricated out of public relations.
It comes to us when we are alone, in quiet moments, in quiet places,
when we suddenly realize that, knowing the good, we have done it;
knowing the beautiful, we have served it;
knowing the truth, we have spoken it.

Whitney Griswold


I am not bound to win but I am bound to be true.  I am not
bound to succeed but I am bound to live up to what light I
have.  I must stand with anybody that stands right; stand with
them while they are right and part with them when they go wrong.

Abraham Lincoln

The Village Blacksmith
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Under a spreading chestnut-tree
The village smithy stands
The smith, a mighty man is he,
With large and sinewy hands;
And the muscles of his brawny arms
Are strong as iron bands.

His hair is crisp, and black, and long,
His face is like the tan;
His brow is wet with honest sweat,
He earns whate'er he can,
And looks the whole world in the face
For he owes not any man.

Week in, week out, from morn till night,
You can hear his bellows blow;
You can hear him swing his heavy sledge,
With measured beat and slow,
Like a sexton ringing the village bell,
When the evening sun is low.

And children coming home from school
Look in the open door;
They love to see the flaming forge,
And hear the bellows roar,
And catch the burning sparks that fly
Like chaff from a threshing-floor.


He goes on Sunday to the church,
And sits among his boys;
He hears the parson pray and preach,
He hears his daughter's voice,
Singing in the village choir,
And it makes his heart rejoice.

It sounds to him like her mother's voice,
Singing in Paradise!
He needs must think of her once more,
How in the grave she lies;
And with his hard, rough hand he wipes
A tear out of his eyes.

Onward through life he goes;
Each morning sees some task begin,
Each evening sees it close;
Something attempted, something done,
Has earned a night's repose.

Thanks, thanks to thee, my worthy friend,
For the lesson thou hast taught!
Thus at the flaming forge of life
Our fortunes must be wrought;
Thus on its sounding anvil shaped
Each burning deed and thought.


A Time to Talk

When a friend calls to me from the road
And slows his horse to a meaning walk,
I don't stand still and look around
On all the hills I haven't hoed,
And shout from where I am, What is it?
No, not as there is a time to talk.
I thrust my hoe in the mellow ground,
Blade-end up and five feet tall,
And plod:  I go up to the stone wall
For a friendly visit.

Robert Frost


The people who are worthy of being leaders of others will never complain
about the stupidity of their helpers, the ingratitude of human beings,
or the inappreciation of the public.  They are all a part of the great game of life.
To meet them and overcome them and not go down before them in disgust,
discouragement, or defeat, that is the final proof of power.

William Boetcher

One's philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the
choices one makes. . . In the long run, we shape our lives and we shape
ourselves.  The process never ends until we die.  And the choices
we make are ultimately our responsibility.

Eleanor Roosevelt


An honest reputation is within the reach
of all people; they obtain it by social virtues,
and by doing their duty.  This kind of
reputation, it is true, is neither brilliant
nor startling, but it is often
the most useful for happiness.

Charles Pinot Duclos

character - character 3 - character 4

Integrity is the first step to true greatness.  People love to
praise, but are slow to practice it.  To maintain it in high
places costs self-denial; in all places it is liable to opposition,
but its end is glorious, and the universe will yet do it homage.

Charles Simmons


The real difference between people is energy.  A strong will,
a settled purpose, an invincible determination, can accomplish
almost anything; and in this lies the distinction between
great people and little people.

Thomas Fuller


There is too little idea of personal responsibility;
too much of "the world owes me a living,"
forgetting that if the world does owe you a living,
you must be your own collector.

Theodore N. Vail

You cannot believe in honor until you have achieved it.
Better keep yourself clean and bright; you are the
window through which you must see the world.

George Bernard Shaw


When Orison Swett Marden calls character "the grandest thing of all," I think he's right on the mark.  Our character determines how we treat others, how we act in given situations, how we treat ourselves.  Our character shines through to the world, and if we go through life without strong character, it's clear to everyone that we're lacking something vital.  Ironically enough, the lack of character seems to be precisely that which prohibits those who have little character from realizing that they're missing this important quality.  Try telling a man who abuses his family that he's abusing his family--more often than not, you'll get a response that mixes anger and indignance and self-righteousness, but little that indicates a healthy sense of character.

Robert Duvall's "character" in the movie The Apostle is such a person--a murderer and a self-proclaimed womanizer who shows no remorse at all for his acts.  But he's among the worst of the worst, for he hides behind his religion and his "faith," justifying himself and rationalizing his actions.  The man has no character at all, yet he presents a facade that fools many people and gets them to believe that he has a great deal of character simply because he's a "religious" man.  He's a frightening person in a world in which we hope to see some truth, especially among Christians.

If I'm to have a character that others admire, I need to focus on developing that character.   I need to make decisions that are honorable and honest.  I need to focus on others rather than myself.  I need to be consistent in my dealings with other (while being careful to avoid what Emerson called "a foolish consistency").  I must obey the calls of my religious belief.  And I must be true to myself, my God, and others.  I should never seek the admiration of others, but if I develop an honest, loving, caring character, the admiration will come.

Not easily, though--there will be many people who won't like me, who feel threatened or exposed by the fact that I'm trying hard to develop my character.  And I think that most of the negative feelings come from those who know inside that they should be developing their own character rather than indulging themselves in material goods or entertainment or whatever else it is in which they indulge themselves.  But that's okay--I've been there.  I've felt threatened by those who have been trying to lead admirable lives, mostly because I knew I ought to be doing the same thing.

The people like Duval's character go along doing whatever they feel like doing and rationalize afterwards, explaining away their actions with their fabricated justifications.  My goal in building my own character is to reach a point at which I need neither to rationalize nor justify.  I hope to be able to say always that I acted according to my conscience and that I was sure that my actions were in the best interests of myself and other people.  How I act is up to me--what I do and what I say--and if I want to build a strong and admirable character, I must be honest, forthright, and loving.

tom walsh


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Pride may be allowed to this or that degree, else we cannot keep up our dignity.
In gluttony there must be eating, in drunkenness there must be drinking:
'tis not the eating, nor 'tis the drinking that is to be blamed.  So with pride.

John Selden

It is my custom every night, so soon as the candle is out, to run over the words
and actions of the past day; and I let nothing escape me, for why should I fear
the sight of my errors when I can admonish and forgive myself?
   I was a little too hot in such a dispute; my opinion might well have been withheld,
for it gave offense and did no good.  The thing was true; but truths are not
to be spoken at all times.  I would I had held my tongue, for there is no contending,
either with fools or with our superiors.  I have done ill, but it shall be so no more.
   Habit is a cable; we weave a thread of it every day, and at last we cannot break it.

Horace Mann

We are only advancing in life, whose hearts are getting softer, our blood
warmer, our brains quicker, and our spirits entering into living peace.

John Ruskin

An inexhaustible good nature is one of the most precious gifts of heaven,
spreading itself like oil over the troubled sea of thought, and keeping the
wind smooth and equable in the roughest weather.

Washington Irving


If there is righteousness in the heart there will be beauty in the character.
If there be beauty in the character, there will be harmony in the home.
If there is harmony in the home, there will be order in the nation.
When there is order in the nation, there will be peace in the world.



The final forming of a person's character lies in their own hands.

Anne Frank

Stand for something.  Don't quest for popularity at the
expense of morality and ethics and honesty.

Howard Cosell


How many cares one loses when one decides
not to be something but to be someone.

Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel

character - character 3 - character 4


Creating Your Character is Like an Artist Creating a Sculpture
Jim Rohn

Could creating your character be likened to an artist creating a sculpture?  I believe that character is not something that just happens by itself, any more than a chisel can create a work of art without the hand of an artist guiding it.  In both instances, a conscious decision for a specific outcome has been made.  A conscious process is at work.  Character is the result of hundreds and hundreds of choices you make that gradually turn who you are, at any given moment, into who you want to be.  If that decision-making process is not present, you will still be somebody. You will still be alive, but may have a personality rather than a character.

Character is not something you were born with and can't change like your fingerprint.  In fact, because you weren't born with it, it is something that you must take responsibility for creating.  I don't believe that adversity by itself builds character and I certainly don't think that success erodes it.  Character is built by how you respond to what happens in your life, whether it's winning every game or losing every game, getting rich or dealing with hard times.

You build character out of certain qualities that you must create and diligently nurture within yourself, just like you would plant and water a seed or gather wood and build a campfire.  You've got to look for those things in your heart and in your gut.  You've got to chisel away in order to find them, just like chiseling away the rock in order to create the sculpture that has previously existed only in your imagination.

But do you want to know the really amazing thing about character?  If you are sincerely committed to making yourself into the person you want to be, you'll not only create those qualities, but you'll continually strengthen them.  And you will recreate them in abundance even as you are drawing on them every day of your life.  Just like the burning bush in the biblical book of Exodus, the bush burned but the flames did not consume it.  Character sustains itself and nurtures itself even as it is being put to work, tested, and challenged.  And once character is formed, it will serve as a solid, lasting foundation upon which to build the life you desire.

Reprinted with permission from Jim Rohn's Weekly E-zine.


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We never know how much one loves till we know how much he or she is willing
to endure and suffer for us; and it is the suffering element that measures love.
The characters that are great must, of necessity, be characters that shall be willing,
patient and strong to endure for others.  To hold our nature in the willing service
of another is the divine idea of humanity, of the human character.

Henry Ward Beecher


The people who have made the development of a noble and harmonious
character the business of their lives, accept their sorrows as means of greater
growth, and find in them an exaltation of spirit which is closely allied to
happiness.  To such natures, absolute wretchedness would only be possible
through the loss of self-respect; the lowering of an ideal or the failure of a
principle.  Would you be happy and successful?  Then set yourself to build
character.  Seek to be worthy of your own highest commendation.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox
The Heart of the New Thought



Yes, life can be mysterious and confusing--but there's much of life that's actually rather dependable and reliable.  Some principles apply to life in so many different contexts that they can truly be called universal--and learning what they are and how to approach them and use them can teach us some of the most important lessons that we've ever learned.
My doctorate is in Teaching and Learning.  I use it a lot when I teach at school, but I also do my best to apply what I've learned to the life I'm living, and to observe how others live their lives.  What makes them happy or unhappy, stressed or peaceful, selfish or generous, compassionate or arrogant?  In this book, I've done my best to pass on to you what I've learned from people in my life, writers whose works I've read, and stories that I've heard.  Perhaps these principles can be a positive part of your life, too!
Universal Principles of Living Life Fully.  Awareness of these principles can explain a lot and take much of the frustration out of the lives we lead.