The Road to Character

The Road to Character



P. XI “Most of us have clearer strategies for how to achieve career success than we do for how to develop a profound character.”

P. XII “You have to give to receive.”

P. XII “You have to surrender to something outside yourself to gain strength within yourself.”

P. XII “You have to conquer your desire to get what you crave.”

P. XII “Success leads to the greatest failure, which is pride.”

P. XII “Failure leads to the greatest success, which is humility and learning.”

P. XIII “We live in a society that encourages us to think about how to have a great career but leaves many of us inarticulate about how to cultivate inner life—We live in a culture that teaches us to promote and advertise ourselves and to master the skills required for success, but that gives little encouragement to humility, sympathy, and honest self-confrontation, which are necessary to build character.”

P. XIII “Most don’t have a strategy to build character, and without that, not only your inner life but also your external life will eventually fall to pieces.”

P. XV “The heart cannot be taught in a classroom intellectually, to students mechanically taking notes… Good, wise hearts are obtained through lifetimes of diligent effort to dig deeply within and heal lifetimes of scars…. You can’t teach it or email it or tweet it.”

P. XV “Moral improvements occurs most reliably when the heart is warmed, when we come into contact with people we admire and love and we consciously and unconsciously bend our lives to mimic theirs.”

Chapter 1: The Shift

P.7 “You have a responsibility to do great things because you are so great.”

P. 8 “Humility is the awareness that there’s a lot you don’t know and that a lot of what you think you know is distorted or wrong.”

P. 9 “We can be knowledgeable with other peoples’ knowledge, but we can’t be wise with other peoples’ wisdom.”

P. 11 “People who are humble about their own nature are more realists.”

P. 12 “Character is built not only through austerity and hardship. It is also built sweetly through love and pleasure.”

P.12 “The struggle against the weakness in yourself is never a solitary struggle. No person can achieve self-mastery on his or her own.”

P.13 “People with character may be loud or quiet, but they do tend to have a certain level of self-respect.”

Chapter 2: The Summoned Self

P. 23 “Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly puts before us.”

P. 24 “It is not your obligation to complete the work, but neither are you free to desist from beginning it.”

P.28 “Today, teachers tend to look for their students’ intellectual strengths, so they can cultivate them. But a century ago, professors tended to look for their students’ moral weaknesses, so they could correct them.”

P. 46 “Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime; so we must be saved by hope.”

Chapter 3: Self-Conquest

P. 63 “Always try to associate yourself closely and learn as much as you can from those who know more than you, who do better than you, who see more clearly than you.”

P. 63 “The plans are nothing, but the planning is everything,” “Rely on planning, but never trust plans.”

P. 67 “We should live our life being truthful to that authentic inner self, not succumbing to the pressures outside our self.”

P. 67 “To live artificially, with a gap between your inner nature and your outer conduct, is to be deceptive, cunning, and false.”

Chapter 4: Struggle

P. 78 “Everyone must go through something analogous to a conversion… conversion to an idea, a thought, a desire, a dream, a vision—without vision the people perish.”

P. 94 “Often, physical or social suffering can give people an outsider’s perspective, an attuned awareness of what others are enduring.”

P.94 “The first big thing suffering does is it drags you deeper into your-self—The people who endure suffering are taken beneath the routine busyness of life and find they are not who they believed themselves to be.”

Chapter 5: Self – Mastery

P. 108 “Proper behavior is not just knowing what is right; it is having the motivation to do what is right, an emotion that propels you to do good things.”

P. 115 “If everybody is told to think outside the box, you’ve got to expect that the boxes themselves will begin to deteriorate.”

P. 116 “A person’s social function defines who he or she is. The commitment between a person and an institution is more like a covenant. It is an inheritance to be passed on and a debt to be repaid.”

Chapter 6/7: Dignity and Love

P. 149 “We could not be virtuous if we were really as innocent as we pretended to be—If we were truly innocent we couldn’t use power in the ways that are necessary to achieve good ends.”

P. 170 “We don’t build love; we fall in love, out of control.”

P. 170 “You will be loved the day when you will be able to show your weakness without the person using it to assert his strength.”

P. 172 “Love is submission, not decision.”

P. 182 “Every limit is a beginning as well as an ending.”

Chapter 8: Ordered Love

P.  200 “The self-cultivator spends more energy trying to display the fact he is happy—posting highlight reel Facebook photos and all the rest—than he does actually being happy.”

P. 203 “If you work hard, play by the rules, and take care of things yourself, you can be the cause of your own good life.”

Chapter 9: Self-Examination

P. 219 “We have less reason to be surprised or offended when we find others differ from us in opinions because we very often differ from ourselves.”

P. 222 “Happiness is not found in self contemplation; it is perceived only when it is reflected from another.”

P. 224 “The happiness of society depends on virtue.”

P. 224 “The essential human act is the act of making strenuous moral decisions.”

P. 224 “The first step to greatness is to be honest.”

P. 225 “The reigning error of mankind is that we are not content with the conditions on which the goods of life are granted.”

Chapter 10: Big Me

P. 250 “To improve yourself, you have to be taught to love yourself, to be true to yourself, not to doubt yourself and struggle against yourself.”

P. 250 “The answers are all inside of me.  All I’ve got to do is believe.”

P. 262 “Although we are flawed creatures, we are also splendidly endowed—We are divided within ourselves, both fearfully and wonderfully made.”

P. 262 “In the struggle against your own weakness, humility is the greatest virtue.”

P. 265 “The struggle against weakness often has a U shape.”

P. 265 “Only by quieting the self, by muting the sound of your own ego, can you see the world clearly.”

P. 266 “The best leaders try to lead along the grain of human nature rather than go against it.”

P. 269 “People do get better at living, at least if they are willing to humble themselves and learn.”

P. 269 “Joy is not produced because others praise you. Joy comes as a gift when you least expect it.”

Priyanka Uprety