character - character 2 - character 4

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

Helen Keller


My grandfather once told me that there are two kinds of people:  those who do the work and those who take the credit.  He told me to try to be in the first group; there was less competition there.

Indira Gandhi

It is not in the still calm of life, or in the the repose of a pacific station, that great characters are formed. . . . The habits of a vigorous mind are formed in contending with difficulties.  All history will convince you of this, and that wisdom and penetration are the fruit of experience, not the lessons of retirement and leisure.  Great necessities call out great virtues.

Abigail Adams

Character is an essential tendency. It can be covered up, it can be messed with, it can be screwed around with, but it canít be ultimately changed. Itís the structure of our bones, the blood that runs through our veins.

Sam Shepard


In the stormy current of life characters are weights or floats which at one time make us glide along the bottom, and at another maintain us on the surface.

Hippolyte Taine


Be such a person, and live such a life, that if every person were such
as you, and every life a life like yours, this earth would be Paradise.

Phillips Brooks


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Every thought which enters the mind, every word we utter, every deed we perform,
makes its impression upon the inmost fiber of our being and the result of these impressions
is our character.  The study of books, of music, or of the fine arts is not essential to a lofty
character.  It rests with the worker whether a rude piece of marble shall be squared into
a horse-block or carved into an Apollo, a Psyche, or a Venus di Milo.  It is yours, if you
choose, to develop a spiritual form more beautiful than any of these,
instinct with immortal life, refulgent with all the glory of character.

Orison Swett Marden


Face your deficiencies and acknowledge them; but do not let
them master you.  Let them teach you patience, sweetness,
insight.  When we do the best we can, we never know what
miracle is wrought in our life, or in the life of another.

Helen Keller


Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.
After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.



The best index to people's character is
(a) how they treat people
who can't do them any good, and
(b) how they treat people who can't fight back.

Abigail Van Buren


First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.



Honesty is the cornerstone of character.

Malcolm Forbes

Keep your thoughts right, for as you think, so you are.
Therefore, think only those things that will make
the world better, and you unashamed.

Henry H. Buckley

Be more concerned with your character than your reputation,
because your character is what you really are,
while your reputation is merely what others think you are.

John Wooden


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Every event offers us a blank canvas upon which we paint with the brush
of humility or arrogance; modesty or pride; service or self-aggrandizement.
If we seek praise and position, we shall crash.  If we seek character and
service, we shall soar.  Even if you do not have a highway named after
you or you are not awarded the coveted job or prize, you will be
at peace with yourself and your soul will be satisfied.

Alan Cohen
The Tao Made Easy

character - character 2 - character 4

The structure of human betterment cannot be built upon foundations
of materialism or business, but upon the bedrock
of individual character in free men and women.

Herbert C. Hoover


Let everyone sweep in front of his or her door and the whole world will be clean.

Mother Teresa

However many holy words you read, however many you speak,
what good will they do if you do not act upon them?

The Dhammapada

No longer talk at all about the kind of person
a good person ought to be, but be such.

Marcus Aurelius


Live so that when your children think of fairness,
caring, and integrity, they think of you.

H. Jackson Browne, Jr.



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

Phillips Brooks


Character consists of what you do on the third and fourth tries.

James Michener


There is nothing more personal than your values.  What you will
and won't do to get ahead, the lines you will and won't cross to win,
whom you will and won't step on for personal gain, are at the very
core of your code of honor.  And your code of honor determines
your character.  And your character is who you are.
Behind closed doors.  When nobody is watching.

Patti LaBelle


Character isn't inherited.  One builds it daily by the way one thinks and acts,
thought by thought, action by action.  If one lets fear or hate or anger
take possession of the mind, they become self-forged chains.

Helen Gahagan Douglas


If everyone were clothed with integrity, if every heart were
just, frank, and kindly, the other virtues would be
well-nigh useless, since their chief purpose is to make us
bear with patience the injustice of our fellows.


Our fathers gave us many laws, which they had learned from their fathers.  These laws were good.  They told us to treat all people as they treated us; that we should never be the first to break a bargain; that it was a disgrace to tell a lie; that we should speak only the truth; that it was a shame for one man to take from another his wife, or his property without paying for it.  We were taught to believe that the Great Spirit sees and hears everything, and that he never forgets; that hereafter he will give every person a spirit-home according to his desserts:  if we have been good people, we will have a good home; if we have been bad people, we will have a bad home.  This I believe, and all my people believe the same. . . .

Chief Joseph
Nez Perce


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character - character 2 - character 4

The longer you live the more you realize that forgiveness,
consideration, and kindness are three of the great secrets of life.


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

Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Worship," The Conduct of Life


Four things that we must learn to do
If we would make our record true:
To think without confusion clearly;
To love our fellow people sincerely;
To act from honest motives purely;
To trust in God and Heaven securely.

Henry van Dyke



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.