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Quotations for Motivation #44 --- Character

Updated on March 7, 2011

Quotations on Character (Set No. 2)

Character means the sum total of the results of the interaction of all the forces that are acting within us. Passions, emotions, appetites and desires all directed and controlled by intelligence will manifest themselves in actions. These actions will lead to habits which in turn form character. Whether we call that character good or bad depends upon the kind and amount of control and direction we give to these forces.

If we plant a seed and then bring the proper stimuli to bear upon it, such as moisture, sunlight, and certain soil ingredients, the seed will develop into a healthy plant. So as stimuli pour in upon the human system from every quarter, they arouse passions, excite emotions, create desires, stir ambitions and whet appetites. The more these forces, if we may call them such, are brought under intelligence and control, the stronger will be the character that is developed. The guidance and control of these stimuli, to be effective, must come from the individual, for he must see what is the proper thing to do and then do it without any compelling force from the outside.

Emotion or desire uncontrolled or undirected may lead to almost any excesses, but properly guided they may carry a person far in some line of useful endeavor. Reason alone is cold and hard, but warmed with a proper amount of emotion it will reach outside to all our relationships everywhere.

We do not claim that to cultivate memory or to fill the brain with knowledge creates character. Both may help one to have a deeper insight into the workings of those inner forces in their relation to outer stimuli and thereby help to determine a right course of action. One the other hand, they may only serve to give further impetus to the forces that carry away from the recognized standards of good conduct.

As we have said, character is the sum total of the results of the interaction of these. However, these responses may lead to action that is either constructive or destructive. If constructive, certain virtues are developed which in turn are expressed in actions that are a benefit to society and we judge the character as good. Yet, the absence of one virtue may allow these forces to drift into the wrong channels and the resultant action be detrimental to society, in which case, we call the character bad.

—Ira F. King, The Llano Colonist, New Llano, La., June 16, 1928.

Without character there is no contentment with success.

—J.C. Mitchell, Religious Herald, Richmond, Va., June 29, 1961.

Character is expressed by the quality of one’s promise-making and promise-keeping. Promise-breaking blemishes reputation. ... Promise-keeping is the safeguard and insurance of survival. Promise-breaking threatens our way of life with collapse. Defaulters are held in dishonor by all people, because defaulters assault the citadel of integrity. Integrity is our stronghold against disintegration and decay. It protects us as individuals and as a society. Promises are both formal and informal. They are expressed and implied. Every one of us must be careful in our promise-making, to be sure we know clearly the extent of the obligations we assume. Having once made a promise, formally or informally, in expressed words, or by acts and implications, honesty demands that we honor that promise fully and faithfully.

—A. Hamer Reiser, Millennial Star, London, England, June 1954.

While knowledge leads to power over nature, it is character alone that leads to power among men.

—W.C. Scott, The Monroe News-Star, Monroe, La., June 1, 1936.

A trait of character never changes without a change in the total personality. Correcting an undesirable trait involves readjustment of the total personality.

—J.R. Shoptaugh, Louisiana Schools, Baton Rouge, La., October 1952.

Character is not a static attainment or platform. We are constantly improving our character, or, at least we should be. Character is positive and not negative. We may have good character or we may lack character, but no one has a bad character.

—R. Don Smith, Accelerator, Sydney, Australia, December 1968.

Character is the total result of all the reaction of all the inherited, internal and environmental forces that play upon the human mind and spirit. Good character is that element of personality that makes one acceptable to the majority of his kind, and makes him a worker for the progressive, forward-looking, on-going things of his generation. To be a possessor of good character means that we live in such a way that those who have the highest ideals in our generation approve of our conduct. ... Work is the greatest of all character developments.

—Willis A. Sutton, The Texas Outlook, Fort Worth, Texas, August 1960.

The need of every people is integrity of character, that quality of heart that does not hesitate to maintain its convictions under all conditions. The mind marks the beginning of civilization, but loftiness of character is its fruitage and its end. ...

Those who look forward to the day when intellect and reason shall control society, will be disappointed. Intellectual perception and moral perception do not always go hand in hand. The clever man is not always the useful man. Upon the high seas you may discover one ship sailing east and another sailing west, and yet both are driven by the same wind that blows. So we daily see men of equal intellectual advantage taking opposite courses in life. Some good, others bad, one false, another faithful; until we know of a truth that it is character and not mentality that makes us what we are. An educated mind may see the wrong to be righted, but it is the educated conscience that gives challenge to the wrongdoing.

—Royall R. Watkins, The Texas Outlook, Fort Worth, Texas, December 1931.

Character is not an inheritance. It is an attainment.

—Ernest C. Wareing, Western Christian Advocate, Cincinnati, Ohio, Jan. 31, 1923.

Character is the spark that quickens human life, the driving force behind all human action.

—William H. Standley, New York Times, New York, New York, June 5, 1936.

We always succeed when we build our character first and our success afterward.

—Roy L. Smith, Tampa Morning Tribune, Tampa, Fla., Jan. 16, 1932.

A man's best work is always the best index to his character.

—Roy L. Smith, Tampa Morning Tribune, Tampa, Fla., June 14, 1933.

All our progress is useless unless better character develops.

—Roy L. Smith, Tampa Morning Tribune, Tampa, Fla., Nov. 25, 1936.

Men show their character better in their work than in their words.

—Roy L. Smith, Tampa Morning Tribune, Tampa, Fla., March 13, 1937.

One of the good things about work is that it is the best expression of character.

—Roy L. Smith, Tampa Morning Tribune, Tampa, Fla., June 18, 1937.

Success is always to be measured by its effect on character.

—Roy L. Smith, Tampa Morning Tribune, Tampa, Fla., May 3, 1939.

Character is made by work. I don’t know anything else on earth that will make it. I do not believe it can be given to a person who refuses to work and I do not believe you can keep it from a person who insists on work. And there are more jobs than there are efficient men to fill them.

—J.J. Wicker, Religious Herald, Richmond, Va., May 19, 1938,

Character is habit crystallized.

—Frances E. Willard, Zion's Herald, Boston, Mass., Nov. 24, 1897.

There is no better capital than character, ability and reliability.

The Commercial Dispatch, Columbus, Miss., Nov. 2, 1930.

The man who actively and positively develops his own character has an inward purpose, an unseen aim, to which he constantly directs attention. He may be a long time in forming this purpose or in perfectly discerning this aim, but when these ultimate ends are once clear to him he is forever rid of all uncertainty.

Outlook, New York, N.Y., July 7, 1900.

Influence is the magnet of character.

Taylor County News, Abilene, Texas, June 3, 1898.

Reputation is a bubble which a man bursts when he tries to blow it for himself.

—Emma Carleton, The Philistine, East Aurora, N.Y., August 1900.

There must be character behind your words if what you say is to influence the world.

—J.B. Cranfill, Baptist Standard, Dallas, Texas, Dec. 13, 1900.

Character is what we have done by one act or means that links our friends to us "with hooks of steel." It may be one act, it may be many, it must have been something. It is not what we have planned to do, but what we have done, that gives us character. It is thought set in motion, good intentions executed and our part well acted.

—J.W. Donovan, Secrets of Success, New York, N.Y., 1888.

Character is the result of obstacles surmounted.

—Graham Flippen, quoted in THINK, New York, N.Y., April 1938.


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