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Quotations for Motivation #29 --- Responsibility

Updated on September 25, 2015

Quotations on Responsibility

One of the surest guarantees of character is a sense of responsibility. With the awakening of this sense, character begins; with its growth, character grows; where it is feeble, where it cannot be awakened, character is an impossibility. The main object of all true education is to develop this sense of responsibility.

---Matthew Henry Buckham, Burlington Weekly Free Press, Burlington, Vt., July 3, 1885.

When a man undertakes to discharge his responsibility he should not stand by waiting for some great opportunity or some unusually favorable occasion. Tremendous results are often rooted in commonplace chances and in what seem to be unimportant incidents. There is great danger of our making too much of the “great opportunity” or the “splendid chance.” We should pay more attention to the commonplace things of life.

---Charles E. Guthrie, Angelica Advocate, Angelica, N.Y., March 17, 1910.

The fundamental requirement for success in life and for the protection of society is a thorough appreciation by every individual of his responsibility for every act made vital by an accountability to society for the result of every act. Each man must account to society for every act of his, and society will tolerate nothing less. And if he would be at peace with this world, he must be willing, nay eager, to present this accounting. In other words, he must be open and above board all the time. He can’t hide behind a subterfuge for long. This is a “square deal” age.

---Theodore Newton Vail, The Evening World, New York, N.Y., Aug. 17, 1911.

If you are discouraged and compare what others do with your own work, thinking the other so much greater, remember that no one is doing your individual work. He who does well the work that is his is a master; he is as a king. You are responsible for something. You have to see that the work for which you are responsible is rightly done. Only the insane man or the fool is without responsibility for something. You cannot shirk that responsibility nor lay your work on the shoulders of others. Whatever your work you are honored in doing it if you honor it yourself and respect yourself in it. Ever man may feel himself as important in the world’s plan as another if we does well that which is his to do. Taking pride in the performance of your work makes it easier and more agreeable to do.

---Lucius W. Nieman, Milwaukee Journal, Milwaukee, Wis., Jan. 15, 1913.

No one would wish to be thought irresponsible, yet many people give little thought to their responsibilities. Some think they are living up to them when they are motivated only by their fears. However trying, responsibilities are more largely encouraging and rewarding. Responsibility is the price of freedom of the will. Will power is—for the most part—responsible “will do” power, the individual having both the courage of his convictions and of his responsibilities. Responsibility makes for growth of character. It never is sought by little people who prefer to stay little.

---Edmund J. Kiefer, Buffalo Courier-Express, Buffalo, N.Y., Aug. 3, 1958.

Responsibility is the measure of the dignity of man.

---Edmund J. Kiefer, Buffalo Courier-Express, Buffalo, N.Y., Jan. 13, 1957.

People who take their responsibilities lightly lean heavily on others.

---Edmund J. Kiefer, Buffalo Courier-Express, Buffalo, N.Y., Feb. 21, 1963.

To rise to responsibility is to grow in personal stature.

---Edmund J. Kiefer, Buffalo Courier-Express, Buffalo, N.Y., Aug. 1, 1963.

Bearing the weight of responsibility develops strength of character.

---Edmund J. Kiefer, Buffalo Courier-Express, Buffalo, N.Y., Aug. 21, 1966.

Responsibility is something one carries or is dragged along by; one cannot shake it.

---Edmund J. Kiefer, Buffalo Courier-Express, Buffalo, N.Y., Jan. 15, 1967.

Responsibility is the yardstick wherewith to measure one’s attainment of maturity.

---Edmund J. Kiefer, Buffalo Courier-Express, Buffalo, N.Y., July 3, 1967.

Our lives develop tone when disciplined with responsibility.

---Edmund J. Kiefer, Buffalo Courier-Express, Buffalo, N.Y., Aug. 23, 1967.

Our talent, plus our opportunity, equals our responsibility.

---Robert Taylor Hanks, El Paso Herald, El Paso, Texas, Sept. 11, 1911.

Need and ability to meet the need create responsibility.

---Abram Duryee, Christian Intelligencer, New York, N.Y., June 16, 1920.

Ability is the measure of responsibility.

---Louis C. Hinman, The Citizen, Berea, Ky., March 30, 1905.

The measure of your capacity is the measure of your responsibility.

---J. Marvin Nichols, The Daily Ardmoreite, Ardmore, Okla., June 9, 1907.

The measure of man’s responsibility is the opportunity given him.

---Henry Easter, El Paso Herald, El Paso, Texas, July 29, 1912.

Opportunity and responsibility go hand in hand. If we protect our privilege and participate in responsibilities we strengthen ourselves, and develop something better.

---James Richard Hopley, Amsterdam Evening Recorder, Amsterdam, N.Y., Nov. 6, 1915.

The proof of being worthy for responsibility is being ready for it.

---Henry F. Cope, Fulton County News, McConnellsburg, Pa., Nov. 5, 1908.

It is easier to dodge responsibility than it is to dodge the result.

---Frank Hilton Greer, Oklahoma State Capital, Guthrie, Okla., March 2, 1909.

We should fight our battles on the ground of responsibility, never excuse ourselves on the ground of tradition, heredity or environment.

---Bernard Gibbs, El Paso Herald, El Paso, Texas, June 12, 1911.

Every great gift has a germ of responsibility hidden within itself.

---Elijah Powell Brown, Edgefield Advertiser, Edgefield, S.C., June 30, 1897.

Fleeing from responsibility is hiding from reward.

---Elijah Powell Brown, Duluth Evening Herald, Duluth, Minn., Feb. 22, 1902.

To refuse a right responsibility may be to reject a great reward.

---Elijah Powell Brown, The Spokesman-Review, Spokane, Wash., March 20, 1902.

It is one thing to demand our rights and another thing to accept our responsibilities.

---Roy L. Smith, Buffalo Courier-Express, Buffalo, N.Y., July 4, 1928.

You will lose more by avoiding responsibility than by accepting it.

---Roy L. Smith, Buffalo Courier-Express, Buffalo, N.Y., Jan. 15, 1930.

Learn to meet your responsibilities calmly and they will grow lighter.

---Roy L. Smith, Buffalo Courier-Express, Buffalo, N.Y., Jan. 21, 1930.

No man counts who accepts only those responsibilities which suit his convenience.

---Roy L. Smith, Buffalo Courier-Express, Buffalo, N.Y., May 29, 1930.

When a man refuses to take responsibility he becomes a burden on the rest of the world.

---Roy L. Smith, Buffalo Courier-Express, Buffalo, N.Y., June 16, 1930.

Small men make a habit of avoiding responsibility.

---Roy L. Smith, Buffalo Courier-Express, Buffalo, N.Y., June 23, 1930.

Some people grow under responsibility—others only grow timid.

---Roy L. Smith, Buffalo Courier-Express, Buffalo, N.Y., Oct. 15, 1930.

Compare your responsibilities with your rights and you will find them equal.

---Roy L. Smith, Buffalo Courier-Express, Buffalo, N.Y., March 6, 1931.

Let no day close without discharging some responsibility for every privilege enjoyed.

---Roy L. Smith, Buffalo Courier-Express, Buffalo, N.Y., March 12, 1931.

You cannot have power without being compelled to take responsibility.

---Roy L. Smith, Buffalo Courier-Express, Buffalo, N.Y., Nov. 22, 1932.

Everybody who has any advantages must accept corresponding responsibilities.

---Roy L. Smith, Buffalo Courier-Express, Buffalo, N.Y., Oct. 2, 1933.

What room can there be for improvement among a people who have no sense of responsibility?

---Roy L. Smith, Buffalo Courier-Express, Buffalo, N.Y., Feb. 19, 1934.

They who have responsibilities have opportunities for growth.

---Roy L. Smith, Buffalo Courier-Express, Buffalo, N.Y., July 4, 1935.

Everyone must see his own responsibilities before his life has any meaning.

---Roy L. Smith, Buffalo Courier-Express, Buffalo, N.Y., Aug. 17, 1935.

Many have escaped responsibility because they are undependable.

---Roy L. Smith, Buffalo Courier-Express, Buffalo, N.Y., April 11, 1936.

Many have escaped opportunity because they were afraid of responsibility.

---Roy L. Smith, Buffalo Courier-Express, Buffalo, N.Y., April 11, 1936.

Responsibilities usually go to the people who are willing to accept them.

Responsibilities never rest easy on the back of a lazy man.

Responsibilities give the honest man a chance to show what he is.

Responsibilities soon take the measure of a man’s integrity.

Responsibilities always follow close on the heels of opportunities.

Responsibilities never weigh a man down, but worry does.

---Roy L. Smith, Buffalo Courier-Express, Buffalo, N.Y., May 13, 1936.

No man ever lacks opportunity who is willing to accept responsibility.

---Roy L. Smith, Buffalo Courier-Express, Buffalo, N.Y., March 3, 1937.

It is the difference between opportunity and responsibility that frightens some folk.

---Roy L. Smith, Buffalo Courier-Express, Buffalo, N.Y., May 31, 1937.

Responsibilities are perverse things, from the standpoint of those who would have nothing to do with them. Disowning responsibilities does not cause them to fade away. Even forgetting all about them does not mean that we will not be called to account.

—Mattie M. Boteler, Christian Standard, Cincinnati, Ohio, June 19, 1920.

Responsibility does not mean duty–the two words are entirely different. Duty is the fulfillment of obligation. It is man's response to the "ought" that is in him. He may or may not have a clear conception of this imperative that drives him, but somehow he is irresistibly impressed that there are some things he ought to do and some things he ought not to do. This is the sense of duty, and it may prevail in men who do not or who cannot connect it with any sanctions beyond the grave. Responsibility is a different idea; it has to do with the relation of our conduct to something which transcribes time and sense, and which we shall meet beyond the grave. Responsibility is the account which we must render hereafter to One who has the right to question us and in whose hands are the sanctions of reward and punishment. ... What shall we do with this responsibility? Why, there is but one thing to do, respect it and be faithful. Remember that volition makes action, action makes habit, habit makes character and character makes destiny.

—R.J. Briggs, Austin Daily Statesman, Austin, Texas, Jan. 2, 1911.

The willingness to accept a job and follow through with it without diversion from the original purpose and intent, is a mark of personal genius. High in the categories of men of achievement will ever be found those who can assume responsibility.

—Alvin R. Dyer, Central States Mission Bulletin, Independence, Mo., July 24, 1956.

The truly successful man, the one who fully realizes the meaning of citizenship, sums up his philosophy of life in the word responsibility. He feels, with every fiber of his being, that human existence is not merely a necessity thrust upon him, but that it is a glorious privilege, a tremendous opportunity for well doing. He is not content to let others solve the problems of thought, society, government; problems of the city and its complex life; but he, too, is ready to sacrifice his time and, if necessary, his business interest on the altar dedicated to the welfare of his country. He takes an active part in the alleviating of life's pain, in comforting wretched lives, in removing heavy burdens, in keeping his city clean. He realizes that his country and his city call for his service. and he does not wish to shirt the responsibilities which rest upon him. This is genuine patriotism: this is true devotion to one's country.

—Moise Bergman, The Daily Picayune, New Orleans, La., Nov. 26, 1909.

The more liberty we want, the more responsibilities are placed upon it. The more responsibilities we assume, the more liberty we can then enjoy.

—A.M. Serex, Monroe Morning World, Monroe, La., May 25, 1948.

Freedom is inseparable from responsibility because the essence of freedom lies in the right to choose. The moment the will is confronted with two alternatives, with the freedom to determine which, that instant he becomes responsible for his choice. There is only one way to escape this responsibility, and that is by surrendering one's freedom to choose. Only slaves are perfectly free from obligations and responsibilities. Thus, one escapes responsibility only at the price of his freedom.

—M. Ashby Jones, The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Ga., July 8, 1926.

If you take responsibility from the individual and shift it to society, you must give society power to enforce that responsibility. That would make society a tyrant and abolish individual liberty. The foundation principle of civilization is that every man is competent of self-control and responsible for his own doings.

—Lawrence M. Colfelt, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia, Pa., June 10, 1901.

Human responsibility is in proportion to liberty. Men want liberty without responsibility.

—H.W. Knickerbocker, Houston Post-Dispatch, Houston, Texas, Aug. 27, 1928.

Responsibility marks the real difference between a mob and society. Responsibility is the defining character of a human being. A man is a responsible creature. Responsibility is not a mere aspect, a mere quality, a mere possession of man, it is the very essence of humanity. Without responsibility man would cease to be human.

—James H. Landes, Baptist Standard, Dallas, Texas, Dec. 10, 1980.

To be responsible is to be sensitively responsive. It also carries with it the sense of pledge or promise. It is to be answerable to someone for defined responses which we have mutually agreed upon. It carries the sense of equality between those who make agreements. It suggests standards or ideals to which one will thoughtfully adhere. It is not a mechanical, unthinking response. ... Democracy is a belief in the uniqueness and the indispensability of each individual. To be treated like a man is to be treated responsibly, and responsible man must match obligations with privileges. To act responsible is to have a concern for the consequences of our behavior and a sensitivity to its antecedents. To give a sensitive and intelligent response to the key issues of the day we must have a sense of history, not only our own history as a person, but the history of various social institutions. To act responsibly in regard to schools we must have some appreciation of our struggles to establish first the common school, then the public high school, and now the state university. Many irresponsible criticisms of our public educational institutions assume the desirability of education chiefly for an elite group. We are committed to a democratic ideal and we ought to make the most of it. To act responsibly we must enthrone individual man and see him as the key figure in all responsive behavior. The more power he possesses by virtue of wealth or position, the more responsibility he bears.

—Edgar Dale, The News Letter of the Bureau of Educational Research, Columbus, Ohio, February 1958.

It's not how many times you are disappointed or how many times you become frustrated, but how many times you keep coming back and persisting. That's the important thing. Persistence comes naturally when YOU accept ABSOLUTE RESPONSIBILITY for yourself. It's not luck, fate, the stars, heredity, circumstances, the economy or the weather. IT'S UP TO YOU. Once you accept absolute responsibility you'll begin to improve. You'll eliminate excuses. You'll decide what kind of experiences you want to have and you'll become totally accountable to yourself. You'll find yourself becoming more persistent, more determined, more bold. ... Once you accept absolute responsibility for your circumstances, your circumstances begin to improve. YOU IMPROVE. You start thinking of CAN DO rather than CANNOTS. You become happier. ... Your attitude will change. Suddenly your life will have a new meaning. There are some things that you are not responsible for: inflation, energy, government, regulations, competition, the weather and what other people say and do. You are effected by these things and you might be concerned enough to do something, but you are not responsible for them. You are responsible for: your awareness, your attitude, your creativity, your values, your goals, your focus, your use of time, your sense of humor. We should also add to this list: your commitment, your enthusiasm, your persistence, your preparation, your loyalty, your knowledge, your service, and your dedication. These are the things that deserve your time and attention. These are YOUR ABSOLUTE RESPONSIBILITY. The key to success is not words; it's action. It's not promises; it's results. It's not what you know; it's what you do. Let's begin each day by reconfirming, "I will offer no excuses. I will never, never give up. I will make the difference."

—Kenneth R. Barker, The Trumpeter, Baton Rouge, La., February 1990.

Responsibility is the combination of two words: response and ability. If a person is responsible he has the ability to respond properly to any situation. The only thing that keeps us working is our individual responsibility. This is the greatest ability that can be developed. There is not one minute in our lives that we aren't responding to some outward stimulus; so the ability with which we do respond determines in a very large way our lives, our success, our happiness, and especially our relationship with others. Before we can be responsible we must learn the proper responses to certain situations. Having learned the correct responses we must learn how to apply this knowledge to practice. With practice comes the second part of responsibility--ability. All abilities must be developed. This ability to respond is not different; it does not come automatically or instantly but only by consistent effort and practice. We have duties and obligations and one of the greatest things in life is to learn how to respond to these duties on our own. There's no one who should stand over us and compel us to do the work and no one should have to check up on us. If we can't act by our own initiative, but have to be compelled, we are lacking the ability to respond.

—Barry J. Barnum, Spirit of Texas, Dallas, Texas, March 1969.

Respect for responsibility means there should be care for character. Human beings are not born full grown. Character is not ready made. Like the oak, character is attained by life developing processes. Respect for responsibility means the guarding of influence. Influence is that strange, subtle power which always abides. Only in the strength of a Christ-given influence is any man enabled to live with adequate helpfulness in the midst of his fellows. Respect for responsibility makes for happiness. How many in this feverish, whirling, restless age refuse to establish for themselves satisfying, solid joy? Respect for responsibility concerns itself with stern duty.

—Oscar T. Cooper, Dallas Morning News, Dallas, Texas, May 31, 1926.

Some people grow under responsibility; others merely swell.

—Burris A. Jenkins, Kansas City Post, Kansas City, Mo., Feb. 16, 1920.

Opportunity is the mother of responsibility.

—Carter Helm Jones, The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Ky., Nov. 21, 1898.

The size of your talent determines the weight of your responsibility.

—John D. Freeman, Baptist and Reflector, Nashville, Tenn., May 8, 1930.

The most sobering influence is responsibility. It is easy for a person to say what they would do or wouldn't do if they were in such and such a position. But when the responsibility is theirs they are not as a rule so free to talk and promise without talking.

—Emmett J. Lee, The Gazette, Farmerville, La., Oct. 10, 1934.

It is the right of self-determination that brings full sense of responsibility to the individual and man can never arrives in terms of personal achievement until this sense of his own worth is felt by him.

—Frank Eddy Madden, Houston Post-Dispatch, Houston, Texas, Feb. 11, 1929.

To be responsible is to be able and willing to respond. Responding is a form of communication. One is irresponsible who is incapable of or unwilling to respond to the demands of a situation. ... Irresponsibility is often mainly a failure of communication.

—Gaines S. Dobbins, The Sunday School Builder, Nashville, Tenn., June 1954.

He assumes a fearful responsibility who shirks one.

—Nephi L. Morris, Improvement Era, Salt Lake City, Utah, November 1918.

Responsibility is what gets out of a man the best that is in him.

—Bert Moses, Lake Charles American Press, Lake Charles, La., July 6, 1940.

Those who continue to shrink from responsibility–continue to shrink.

—Clifton N. Memmott, Roosevelt Standard, Roosevelt, Utah, Nov. 20, 1952.

Can it be that the lullabies of past achievements numb [a man’s] sense of responsibility? ... It is a cancerous philosophy which persuades one to “rest on his oars” or to do only as much as is required to “get by.” Guard against it, else the victim will be left, when the day is done, with little more than his lethal philosophy in which there is little or no real satisfaction and out of which there can come little or no reward.

—Lee A. Palmer, Improvement Era, Salt Lake City, Utah, May 1951.

If you don't have responsibilities, you don't grow strong enough to handle them.

—Alexander Preston Shaw, Journal of Living, New York, N.Y., October 1950.

If you're looking for opportunities, you will find each one married to a responsibility.

—Roy L. Smith, Tampa Morning Tribune, Tampa, Fla., Feb. 23, 1932.


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