Quotations for Motivation #43 --- Character

Quotations on Character (Set No. 1)

Honesty, integrity, courage, unselfishness–these are the qualities we most admire in any individual. Without such character special talents are often fruitless, general intelligence may well become a menace to society. But it is important to remember that much passes for character which is merely mechanical response to well-organized signals, a conditional behavior along conventional lines. Real character is something quite apart from this spurious counterfeit, and only the acid of bitter experience can distinguish the true metal from the false.

—James B. Conant, New York Times, New York, New York, June 15, 1936.

Character is the attributes that distinguish the individual. This term can be defined in many different ways. One definition is moral vigor or firmness acquired through self-discipline. It seems appropriate to define it as a belief in something bigger than self and the adoption of conduct in the light of that belief.

—William H. Day, Thoroughbred Pacer, Louisville, Ky., March 1971.

The worker who cuts down his effort cuts down on his character.

—B.C. Forbes, Forbes Magazine, New York, N.Y., April 15, 1922.

Character consists of knowing when to yield and when to overcome–and doing both at the right time.

—B.C. Forbes, Forbes Magazine, New York, N.Y., Oct. 15, 1926.

Much has been written about laying the foundations of character; but many characters built upon a good foundation have had their superstructures levelled to the ground by the winds and storms of adversity. The foundations of a good character must be strong; but so much the building that is erected upon them.

Character, personality, is one of the greatest of all a man's assets, and the higher you would build your character the greater the need of traits of steel in its structure.

How big do you want to build? Do you wish to be a "shack" of a character, or do you wish to build high?

Courage of steel is necessary if one would build high. The man whose character lies prone on the ground need never fear being blown over; but the man who would stand out from amongst his fellows must be prepared to withstand the storms that assail him who dares to raise his character toward the sky.

Take a view of life yourself and you will observe that the storm rages the hardest and the battle wages the fiercest about "big" men, everywhere. Courage, these men must have, and Endurance, to withstand.

If the structural-steel girders of Courage and Endurance are not built into your character you must inevitably collapse.

But there is something of gladness that enters into a man who can face temporary adversities, and stand against them. He feels that he has "played the part of a man."

To man who aspire to greater achievements is that building of character which is essential to success in all lines of endeavor, the quality of Daring is essential.

Another steel characteristic, Dependableness, must go into the structure. Dependability is a mighty girder, which must be riveted tight to Courage and Endurance.

One might well picture this fine steel girder of Dependableness resting upon and riveted to the steel uprights of Courage and Endurance. No external forces can bring down to earth, can destroy a character built with such a framework--so long as the rivets hold that bind the frame together.

And of what material are those rivets of character made?

The best rivets for this purpose are those of Faith, Red-hot Faith-rivets, driven through the steel places we have mentioned, and securely hammered over will certainly keep the structure secure.

A character of large structure must possess Faith, must believe. Have Faith in what? Believe in what?

Have Faith in himself; have Faith in the profession which he follows; have Faith in Something outside himself, although that Something may, perhaps, be unconfessed. Faith, then, "the substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1), must be part of the structure of a character of any great height.

In conclusion let us get this picture as a whole set. Set in the concrete foundations of Character are the two steel, vertical qualities of Courage and Endurance; and resting upon these is the massive girder of Dependableness. The rivets of Faith fasten them securely together. In this picture one sees the "square" of character.

All through life we who are progressive are building our structure higher and higher; and we must watch that the right materials are built into our superstructure of CHARACTER--steel girders and rivets that will withstand the winds and storms of adversity.

—John B. Forest, Specialty Salesman Magazine, Atlanta, Ga., November 1926.

The choice must be made between an "easy" life, and character. It is the deepest tragedy of American experience today that there are many who do not see this necessity. All human experience guides us to this truth: you can't have "easy" living and have character. Humanity must choose.

Character is the result of life being forced through the presses of hard work, necessity and thrift. This is not to say that character is always present in the hard-pressed, but it is out of the school of hard knocks that great character develops.

We must remind ourselves of the way nature makes a diamond. It is a precious jewel. It is perhaps the hardest stone in existence. It is almost pure, unadulterated stone. Yet, it was formed by chemical reactions which burned and destroyed the impurities, and by the most severe pressure which crushed and molded the carbon. Even then, to be made a thing of beauty, the stone must be dug out of the earth, cleaned, polished and then cut. It must be given facets for the reflection of light, all of which means that it must be chipped, cut, and if it were a human being, we could say it was going through the most inhuman tortures, the most brutal hardship. We would have nothing but pity for these poor, unfortunate people so cruelly beaten by circumstances, so tortured by "fate," so cut and bruised by situations beyond their control. And yet, a beautiful diamond is in the making. One of the loveliest, most cherished gems with light and color and high material value is being created.

When we are making choices, can't we remember the diamond? Can't we see that great character never comes out of "easy" situations? To be truly strong, character must go through the fire of adversity and of struggle. If you are in the midst of trouble, just remember the diamond and take courage.

—Eugene M. Frank, The Topeka Daily Capital, Topeka, Kan., Jan. 16, 1952.

Desire comes within you. A coach cannot put desire in you. Desire comes within you.

Character is very important to winning. When times get tough, the character sticks out. The character wins for you. Without character, you couldn't accomplish anything. Character keeps you from quitting.

Be committed to what you want to do and excel in it. If you want to be successful with it, be in control of yourself. Each and every one of you should have a goal to reach. You've got to believe in yourself. It all starts with yourself–desire, character, commitment and control.

One athlete does not lose a ball game. When one of your friends is down, meet him halfway. Believe in each other.

Have a daily plan. Have a plan to be successful. Practice like you are the best players in America, because you just might be. Whether you are in the classroom, in practice or on the game field, make something happen. Be prepared. Be committed. Be in control of yourself.

—Bobby Keasler, Beauregard Daily News, DeRidder, La., May 24, 1995.

By character in man or woman I mean those characteristics in either of them which inspires confidence in others. To be a man or woman of character one must be honest and truthful in all that he or she does. Such people can be trusted under any circumstances. ... I hold that there is no such thing as a bad character; the man whose character is bad, is without character. Only good, honest, truthful and conscientious people have character.

—J.H. Funderburg, Lake Charles American Press, Lake Charles, La., Aug. 3, 1940.

A person with a strong character never complains of his bad luck.

—Phil Conley, The Clarion-Ledger, Jackson, Miss., March 23, 1948.

Personality is the vehicle through which character is manifested. A personality backed by character reflects poise and charm.

—Phil Conley, The Clarion-Ledger, Jackson, Miss., Aug. 10, 1948.

Character is grown from the undergrounds of life–the deep subsoils of imagination, affection and will.

—John D. Freeman, The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Ga., April 27, 1933.

Killing time is crippling character.

—Henry F. Cope, Chicago Tribune, Chicago, Ill., Sept. 20, 1908.

Development of character calls for development in the highest degree of all the powers of the individual as assets of character.

—Milton Bennion, Improvement Era, Salt Lake City, Utah, November 1929.

Character is the basic keynote of every personality.

—Ruth Fowler Brown, The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Ga., May 7, 1934.

The force of character is the power that leads men on to victory and the accomplishment of noble purposes. ... When we think of a true man, the man of character, we associate him with stability, firmness, something that is not easily overturned.

—R.W. Ewing, The Journal, Logan, Utah, June 9, 1894.

The noblest contribution which any man can make for the benefit of posterity is that of a good character, the richest bequest which any man can leave to the youth of a native land is that of a shining, spotless example. Being a useful citizen tends to improve one's own character. It gives one a real importance in society far beyond that which any artificial station can bestow. Good character is most necessary to good, useful citizenship. Character is developed in keeping with one's environment, the people with whom one associates, and the way one spends his leisure time.

—Shelby M. Jackson, Louisiana Schools, Baton Rouge, La., December 1948.

The man who vacillates can never climb. ... Character is formed by the decisions we acquire from steadily facing obstacles and overcoming them. ... Decision is the choosing of a stand to take, a result to strive for, or a belief to cling to, and sticking, striving and clinging without change. Only so can any man ever get any measure of success.

—Ralph T. Jones, The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Ga., March 9, 1913.

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

—Ezra Taft Benson, Y News, Provo, Utah, June 4, 1947.

There’s a world of difference between being a character–and having it.

—Justin Hammond, Milwaukee Sentinel, Milwaukee, Wis., Feb. 11, 1953.

The character-builder is the master-builder.

—Nephi Jensen, Improvement Era, Salt Lake City, Utah, October 1925.

Build your castles in the air, but don't fail to put the foundation of character under them.

—H.W. Knickerbocker, Houston Post-Dispatch, Houston, Texas, Oct. 22, 1928.

Destiny is usually the sum total of one's initiatives and endeavors.

—W.A. MacKenzie, The Leesburg Morning Commercial, Leesburg, Fla., Sept. 17, 1927.

Character is that particular aggregate of traits and capacities which determines the individual's approach to life and distinguishes him from all others.

—Mrs. J.F. Knight, Forum, New York, N.Y., March 1929.

Character begets credit; and credits beget capital.

—Evelyn Jeane McCarty, The Prairie, Canyon, Texas, Feb. 27, 1945.

Character can best be cultivated by means of discipline, organization and efficiency, and these in turn will bring obedience, loyalty, respect and courage.

—W.F. Perry, Houston Daily Post, Houston, Texas, Feb. 11, 1916.

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