Abraham Lincoln on Character

“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

Epictetus on Character

“As you are careful when you walk not to step on a nail or turn your ankle, so you should take care not to do any injury to your character at the same time.”


Malcolm Cowley on Success

“They tell me that success is a terrible test of people. Thank God I’ve never had to undergo it.”

~ Malcolm Cowley

Joan Didion on Reputation

“The dismal fact is that self-respect has nothing to do with the approval of others — who are, after all, deceived easily enough; has nothing to do with reputation, which, as Rhett Butler told Scarlett O’Hara, is something people with courage can do without.”

~ Joan Didion

Joan Didion on Character

“Character — the willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life — is the source from which self-respect springs.”

~ Joan Didion

Haruki Murakami on the Self

“No matter what they wish for, no matter how far they go, people can never be anything but themselves. That’s all.”

~ Haruki Murakami / Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman

Abraham Lincoln on Power

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”

~ Abraham Lincoln

Marcus Aurelius on Harm

“It can ruin your life only if it ruins your character. Otherwise it cannot harm you — inside or out.”

~ Marcus Aurelius

Epictetus on Character

Circumstances don’t make the man, they only reveal him to himself.

~ Epictetus