Character / Ethics / Virtue Quotes

"The accountability rests with me."
- Skip Prosser

"The reputation of a thousand years may be determined by the conduct of one hour."
- Japanese Proverb

"You can out-distance that which is running after you, but not what is running inside you."
- Rwandan Proverb

"I am not interested in power for power's sake, but I'm interested in power that is moral, that is right and that is good."
- Martin Luther King, As quoted in The Civil Sphere (2006)

"Not being able to govern events, I govern myself."
- Michel de Montaigne

"My grandfather once told me that there are two kinds of people: those who work and those who take the credit. He told me to try to be in the first group; there was less competition there."
- Indira Gandhi

"In matters of principle, stand like a rock; in matters of taste, swim with the current."
- Thomas Jefferson

"To know what is right and not do it is the worst cowardice."
- Confucius

"A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval."
- Mark Twain

"Dignity consists not in possessing honors, but in the consciousness that we deserve them."
- Aristotle

"Goodness is the only investment that never fails."
- Henry David Thoreau

"A pure hand needs no glove to cover it."
- Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

"We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done."
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

"You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him."
- James D. Miles

"Quality means doing it right when no one is looking."
- Henry Ford

"A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination."
- Nelson Mandela

"Surround yourself with people who take their work seriously, but not themselves, those who work hard and play hard."
- Colin Powell

"Do not judge, and you will not be judged."
- Luke 6:37

"Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody's going to know whether you did it or not."
- Oprah Winfrey

"Great necessities call out great virtues."
- Abigail Adams

"If moral behavior were simply following rules, we could program a computer to be moral."
- Samuel P. Ginder

"I never did, or countenanced, in public life, a single act inconsistent with the strictest good faith; having never believed there was one code of morality for a public, and another for a private man."
- Thomas Jefferson

"The human race is challenged more than ever before to demonstrate our mastery - not over nature but of ourselves."
- Rachel Carson

"I was a revolutionary when I was young and all my prayer to God was, 'Lord, give me the energy to change the world.' As I approached middle age and realized that half my life was gone without my changing a single soul, I changed my prayer to 'Lord, give me the grace to change all those who come in contact with me. Just my family and friends, and I shall be satisfied.' Now that I am an old man and my days are numbered, my one prayer is 'Lord, give me the grace to change myself.' If I had prayed this right from the start I should not have wasted my life."

- Bayazid, Sufi mystic, as quoted by Anthony De Mello (The Song of the Bird. (1982). Image Books: New York. p. 153)

"In the garden of the soul, the virtues of faith, hope, and love form the centerpiece. Traditionally called theological virtues, they come as free gifts from God and draw us to God. We cannot earn these virtues; God has already freely planted them in our soul."
- Bishop Robert F. Morneau (Humility: 31 Reflections on Christian Virtue. (1997). St. Mary's Press: Winona, MN, p. 10)

"Plant an act; reap a habit.
Plant a habit; reap a virtue or vice.
Plant a virtue or vice; reap a character.
Plant a character; reap a destiny."
- an old adage