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Character

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

  • It took me years to learn that character is fate and that no one can be made over.

  • Character is what emerges from all the little things you were too busy to do yesterday, but did anyway.

  • It's not what a man stands for that counts: it's what he falls for!

  • ... 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.

  • Character is the best security.

  • The making of the substance called character was a process about as slow and arduous as the building of the Pyramids; and the thing itself, like those awful edifices, was mainly useful to lodge one's descendants in, after they too were dust.

  • Nobility of character manifests itself at loop-holes when it is not provided with large doors.

  • ... 'tis true that tho' People can transcend their Characters in Times of Tranquillity, they can ne'er do so in Times of Tumult.

  • Character is nothing but habit. Strong when habit is strong.

  • Character is the architecture of the being.

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

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1946, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 4 ()
  • These are times in which a genius would wish to live. It is not in the still calm of life, or 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,
    • to her son, John Quincy Adams (1780), Letters of Mrs. Adams ()
  • Vermont tradition is based on the idea that group life should leave each person as free as possible to arrange his own life. This freedom is the only climate in which (we feel) a human being may create his own happiness. ... Character itself lies deep and secret below the surface, unknown and unknowable by others. It is the mysterious core of life, which every man or woman has to cope with alone, to live with, to conquer and put in order, or to be defeated by.

  • Character demonstrates itself in trifles.

  • Reputation is what others think about you. What's far more important is character, because that is what you think about yourself.

    • Billie Jean King,
    • in Marlo Thomas, ed., The Right Words at the Right Time ()
  • Reputation is what folks say about us: Character is what God knows about us.

  • Adversity is the touchstone of character: it is not in success but in misfortune that hidden powers bear fruit.

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

  • The best index to a person's character is (a) how he treats people who can't do him any good, and (b) how he treats people who can't fight back.

  • I think character never changes; the Acorn becomes an Oak, which is very little like an Acorn to be sure, but it never becomes an Ash ...

    • Hester Lynch Piozzi,
    • 1797, in Oswald G. Knapp, ed., The Intimate Letters of Hester Piozzi and Penelope Pennington 1788-1821 ()
  • The world may take your reputation from you, but it cannot take your character.

  • Keep in mind that the true measure of an individual is how he treats a person who can do him absolutely no good.

  • Character is not cut in marble — it is not something solid and unalterable. It is something living and changing, and may become diseased as our bodies do.

  • Your worst feature is always your character, / which will only be fashionable when you're gone. / It's been peering between balustrades for years now — / it might just as well get dressed, come down.

  • Two things stand like a stone. Kindness in another's trouble, and courage in your own.

    • Princess Diana,
    • in Roisin Kelly, "Princess Diana's Legacy of Kindness," Parade
  • ... it was ... the face of a man difficult to lead, and impossible to drive.