70 Character Quotes About Building Great Character (2021)

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Read these inspirational quotes about building great character, and in the comments below tell us which one of these character quotes is your favorite.

Character is a big idea that brings a lot of meanings to mind. As humans, we spend a lot of time thinking about how character is built and measured.

Adversity is the greatest thing that can shape character. Most people prize integrity, strength, and individuality as the greatest defining features of anyone’s character. These traits also tell us whether someone is a good person and worth including in our lives.

How can you accurately judge someone’s character?

The character quotes below will help you gain perspective on the importance of human character and how you can evaluate someone’s personality.

Character can help guide you in difficult times, and judging it well can help you determine whether to trust someone. It is also important to think critically and honestly about our own character and about how we can become better people.

Quotes About Building Character

1.) “Character is formed in the stormy billows of the world.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

2.) “Hard conditions of life are indispensable to bringing out the best in human personality.” – Alexis Carrel

3.) “Our ability to handle life’s challenges is a measure of our strength of character.” – Les Brown

4.) “Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm.” – Abraham Lincoln

5.) “This is no time for ease and comfort. It is time to dare and endure.” – Winston Churchill

6.) “He who conquers others is strong; He who conquers himself is mighty.” – Lao Tzu

7.) “Courage is fear holding on a minute longer.” – George S. Patton

8.) “Sometimes I wonder if I’m a character being written, or if I’m writing myself.” – Marilyn Manson

9.) “Character is simply habit long continued.” – Plutarch

10.) “An individual step in character training is to put responsibility on the individual.” – Robert Baden-Powell

11.) “Character isn’t something you were born with and can’t change, like your fingerprints. It’s something you weren’t born with and must take responsibility for forming.” – Jim Rohn

12.) “No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.” – Buddha

13.) “We continue to shape our personality all our life. If we knew ourselves perfectly, we should die.” – Albert Camus

14.) “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” – Helen Keller

15.) “In the progress of personality, first comes a declaration of independence, then a recognition of interdependence.” – Henry Van Dyke

Character Quotes about Strength

16.) “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

17.) “Just as we develop our physical muscles through overcoming opposition – such as lifting weights – we develop our character muscles by overcoming challenges and adversity.” – Stephen Covey

18.) “Life is a series of experiences, each one of which makes us bigger, even though sometimes it is hard to realize this. For the world was built to develop character, and we must learn that the setbacks and grieves which we endure help us in our marching onward.” – Henry Ford

19.) “It was character that got us out of bed, commitment that moved us into action, and discipline that enabled us to follow through.” – Zig Ziglar

20.) “Character, in the long run, is the decisive factor in the life of an individual and of nations alike.” – Theodore Roosevelt

21.) “People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is built”. – Eleanor Roosevelt

22.) “You will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honor.” – Aristotle

23.) “We are like chameleons, we take our hue and the color of our moral character, from those who are around us.” – John Locke
If you’re enjoying these quotes, make sure to read our collection of John Locke quotes on character, wealth, and more.

24.) “A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.” – Christopher Reeve
If you’re enjoying these quotes, make sure to check out our collection of hero quotes that inspire everyone to make a difference.

25.) “Good character is not formed in a week or a month. It is created little by little, day by day. Protracted and patient effort is needed to develop good character.” – Heraclitus

26.) “Character is determined more by the lack of certain experiences than by those one has had.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

27.) “You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.” – Marcus Aurelius

28.) “One isn’t necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.” – Maya Angelou

29.) “You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’” – Eleanor Roosevelt

30.) “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” – Nelson Mandela

31.) “Such as are your habitual thoughts, such also will be the character of your mind; for the soul is dyed by the thoughts.” – Marcus Aurelius

You might also like these disappointment quotes to inspire you to bounce back.

Quotes About Character and Goodness

32.) “People seem not to see that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

33.) “Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character.” – Albert Einstein

34.) “Persuasion is achieved by the speaker’s personal character when the speech is so spoken as to make us think him credible. We believe good men more fully and more readily than others: this is true generally whatever the question is, and absolutely true where exact certainty is impossible and opinions are divided.” – Aristotle

35.) “How few there are who have courage enough to own their faults, or resolution enough to mend them.” – Benjamin Franklin

36.) “Character, not circumstances, makes the man.” – Booker T. Washington

37.) “Great ambition is the passion of a great character. Those endowed with it may perform very good or very bad acts. All depends on the principles which direct them.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

38.) “Human greatness does not lie in wealth or power, but in character and goodness. People are just people, and all people have faults and shortcomings, but all of us are born with a basic goodness.” – Anne Frank

39.) “When we see persons of worth, we should think of equaling them; when we see persons of a contrary character, we should turn inwards and examine ourselves.” – Confucius

40.) “Admitting one’s own faults is the first step to changing them, and it is a demonstration of true bravery and integrity.” –  Philip Johnson

41.) “To keep your character intact you cannot stoop to filthy acts. It makes it easier to stoop the next time.” – Katharine Hepburn

42.) “Develop your character so that you are a person of integrity.” – Peter Cain

43.) “Conduct reveals character, and we best understand integrity when we see it lived out in a person’s life.” – Charles H. Dyer

44.) “As I have said, the first thing is to be honest with yourself. You can never have an impact on society if you have not changed yourself. Great peacemakers are all people of integrity, of honesty, but humility.” – Nelson Mandela

45.) “Six essential qualities that are the key to success: Sincerity, personal integrity, humility, courtesy, wisdom, charity.” – Dr. William Menninger

If you’re enjoying these quotes, make sure to read our collection of wisdom quotes from the world’s greatest minds.

46.) “If you don’t have enemies, you don’t have character.” – Paul Newman

Character Quotes About Reputation

47.) “Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.” – Abraham Lincoln

48.) “You can tell a lot about a fellow’s character by his way of eating jellybeans.” – Ronald Reagan

If you’re enjoying these quotes, make sure to read our collection of Ronald Reagan quotes from the former United States President.

49.) “Character is what a man is in the dark.” – Dwight L. Moody

50.) “Live so that when your children think of fairness, caring, and integrity, they think of you.” – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

51.) “A good character is the best tombstone. Those who loved you and were helped by you will remember you when forget-me-nots have withered. Carve your name on hearts, not on marble.” – Charles Spurgeon

52.) “I care not what others think of what I do, but I care very much about what I think of what I do! That is character!” – Theodore Roosevelt

53.) “Most people say that it is the intellect which makes a great scientist. They are wrong: it is character.” – Albert Einstein

54.) “Action is character.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald

55.) “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.” – John Wooden

56.) “Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself. Do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.” – Bruce Lee

If you’re enjoying these quotes, make sure to read our collection of Bruce Lee quotes from the iconic actor and fighter.

57.) “We should take care not to make the intellect our god; it has, of course, powerful muscles, but no personality.” – Albert Einstein

58.) “Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not.” – Oprah Winfrey

59.) “Character is doing the right thing when nobody’s looking. There are too many people who think that the only thing that’s right is to get by, and the only thing that’s wrong is to get caught.” – J. C. Watts

60.) “Character is higher than intellect. A great soul will be strong to live as well as think.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

More character quotes and sayings

61. “Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.” – Albert Einstein

62. “In the end you should always do the right thing even if it’s hard.” – Nicholas Sparks

63. “Character is doing what you don’t want to do but know you should do.” – Joyce Meyer

64. “Who we are in the present includes who we were in the past.” – Fred Rogers

If you’re enjoying this article, make sure to also check out these inspirational challenge quotes about tough times in life, work and love.

65. “Knowledge will give you power, but character respect.” – Bruce Lee

66. “Character is much easier kept than recovered.” – Thomas Paine

67. “Character forms a life regardless of how obscurely that life is lived and how little light falls on it from the stars.” – James Hillman

68. “We are masters of our characters and in turn, slaves of their outgrowth.” – Mohammed Ali Bapir

69. “Character is the line in the sand between the worst of the good people and the best of the bad ones.” – Johnny Flora

70. “The ability to remain calm before, during, and after the storm reveals one’s true strength of character.” – Christine E. Szymanski

Motivational Character Quotes to Empower You

71. “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” Martin Luther King Jr.

72. “What a man’s mind can create, man’s character should control.” Thomas Edison

73. “The best index to a person’s character is how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and how he treats people who can’t fight back.” – Abigail van Buren

74. “Never does a man portray his character more vividly than when proclaiming the character of another.” Winston Churchill

75. “Men of genius are admired, men of wealth are envied, men of power are feared; but only men of character are trusted.” – Alfred Adler

76. “In the end, it is the person you become, not the things you achieve, that is most important.” – Les Brown

77. “Character is one of the greatest motive powers in the world. In its noblest embodiments, it exemplifies human nature in its highest forms, for it exhibits man at his best.” – Samuel Smiles

78. “Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain – and most fools do. But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.” – Dale Carnegie

79. “Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

80. “Show me a man with a tattoo and I’ll show you a man with an interesting past.” – Jack London

How does your character impact the life you lead?

Character is the sum of all your choices, words, and actions. When you look back on your life, consider whether you have created a character you are proud of. All of us can benefit from appreciating our strengths and good choices, but we can also grow from examining the mistakes we have made in the past.

You will see a pattern where your character can bring good or bad things into your life. In turn, you can use what you learn about character to help judge whether you can trust each person in your life. Navigate carefully around those who don’t show good character. Value those who have good character, treat them well, and keep them close.

Which of these great character quotes resonated with you best? Do you have any other favorite quotes to add? Let us know in the comment section below.


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