Character

20 Powerful Quotes on Character & Life

There is so much pressure in life to be great, do great things, don’t screw up, make a difference, don’t be too different – so much that we often lose sight of some simple, yet powerful truths about life. Sometimes you can learn a lot from characters on TV. Gregory House is a great example of character who shines with brilliance in his arrogance and callousness, but also one that shows humor. It was also one of my favorite shows.

Here are twenty powerful life quotes about character that that have helped me stay focused and grounded. Hopefully they (and other great quotes out there) can do the same for you.

  1. “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.” – Mark Twain
  2. “Life consists not in holding good cards but in playing those you hold well.” – Josh Billings
  3. “The measure of a man’s real character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out.” – Thomas B. Macaulay
  4. “Dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die today.” – James Dean
  5. “You will either step forward into growth, or you will step backward into safety.” – Abraham Maslow
  6. “If you wait to do everything until you’re sure it’s right, you’ll probably never do much of anything.” – Win Borden
  7. “The essence of life is finding something you really love and then making the daily experience worthwhile.” – Denis Waitley
  8. “A tough lesson in life that one has to learn is that not everybody wishes you well.” – Dan Rather
  9. “People do not seem to realize that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
  10. “The man who cannot believe in himself cannot believe in anything else. The basis of all integrity and character is whatever faith we have in our own integrity.” – Roy Smith
  11. “Do whatever you can to capture, or recapture, your life spark – unless it harms others, in which case suffer with as much happiness as you can muster. Your nobility of spirit will spark itself.” – Corri Alius
  12. “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that don’t work.” – Thomas Edison
  13. “A gem is not polished without friction, nor a man perfected without trials.” – Lucius Seneca
  14. “Ninety-nine percent of the failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses.” – George Washington Carver
  15. “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
  16. “The difference between stumbling blocks and stepping stones is how you use them.” – Unknown
  17. “It takes two to speak truth — one to speak, and another to hear.” – Henry David Thoreau
  18. “There comes a time in each man’s education in which he comes to the conclusion that envy is ignorance, imitation is suicide, and society in in conspiracy against each one of its members.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
  19. “Everyone is trying to accomplish something big, not realizing that life is made up of little things.” – Frank A. Clark
  20. “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill

If you like these quotes, or have one I missed, please share it in the comments below.

Previous post

How to Overcome the Contender Syndrome

Next post

Why Every Man Should Travel

The Author

Blake Hammerton

Blake Hammerton

Blake Hammerton is the founder and coach at The Sharp Gentleman, and helps men earn more respect while gaining confidence in who they are. He is a certified relationship coach and loves writing about men's fashion, style, character-building, relationships, travel, adventure, and more.

  • I’ve always had a soft spot for Seneca. The man’s life was so interesting and he was genuinely very bright-to the point of his intelligence endangering, and ultimately ending his life.

    Obstacles are indeed a key part of mastering life and improving your character, as Seneca stated. All of the most important lessons in life can be learned through adversity. Also, a man true character can only be seen after his defeat. That’s why I don’t find undefeated boxers very special.

  • I love the Seneca quote too, I find the stoic philosophy fascinating. One of my favorite is the poem “IF” by Rudyard Kipling although it’s not a short quote but a long bad-ass poem that gives definition on what it takes to be a man.

    Another of my favorite is to “Die empty” which I interpret as giving all you have in this life, dedicating yourself and your time to creating value and sharing it with the world so that when you die you have given all you got and you don’t take the ideas in your head (that you might have qualms sharing to the world for fear of someone stealing them or that they are not good enough or whatever the reasons…) to your death bed