Self Discipline & The Development of Character

All the good thoughts and ideas, all the heavenly of emotions and attitudes, the best wishes and ideals... ; fruitless dreams of fascinating portraits on the wall, unless expressed on one's behavior through self-disciplined and sincere actualization of them.


An old Hindu proverb says, "There is nothing noble in being superior to some other man. The true nobility is in being superior to your previous self."

Most of us are aware of this, and are forever striving to improve ourselves, to correct our faults, control our habits, make the most of our abilities. But self-discipline is not easy. Self-conquest, as every philosopher from Plato to William James has emphasized, is the greatest victory of all. "I have had more trouble with myself than with any other man I have ever met!" said Dwight Moody, the famous evangelist.

The greates taste of a man's character is how he takes charge of his own life. "No man need stay the way he is," says Harry E. Fosdick. The mold of a man's fortune, the shape of his life and destiny, are in his own hands. 

Lillian Eichler Watson

  • A manís own character is the arbiter of his fortune.


  • I think, therefore I am.

Rene Descartes 

  • All that a man does outwardly is but the expression and completion of his inward thought. To work effectively, he must think clearly; to act nobly, he must think nobly.

William E. Channing 

  • Make yourselves nests of pleasant thoughts. None of us yet know, for none of us have been taught in early youth, what fairy palaces we may build of beautiful thought-proof against all adversity. Bright fancies, satisfied memories, noble histories, faithful sayings, treasure houses of precious and restful thoughts, which care cannot disturb, nor pain make gloomy, nor poverty take away from us-houses build without hands, for our souls to live in.

John Ruskin 

  • A manís own self is his friend, a manís own self is his foe.


  • When a manís fight begins within himself, he is worth something.

Robert browning 

  • How happy is he born and taught,

                That serveth not anotherís will;

    Whose armor is his honest thought,

                And simple truth his utmost skill!

Sir Henry Wotton 

  • The divinity that shapes our ends is in ourselves. ÖAll that a man achieves or fails to achieve is the direct result of his own thoughts.

James Lane Allen 

  • All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think, we become.


  • Let a man strive to purify his thoughts. What a man thinketh, that is he; this is the eternal mystery. Dwelling within his Self with thoughts serene, he will obtain imperishable happiness. Man becomes that of which he thinks.


  • A happy life is one that is in accordance with its own nature.


  • He who knows others is clever; he who knows himself is enlightened.


  • Whatever you are by nature, keep to it; never desert your line of talent. Be what nature intended you for, and you will succeed.

Sydney Smith 

  • No man can produce great things who is not thoroughly sincere in dealing with himself.

James Russell Lowell 

  • If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him keep step to music that he hears, however measured or far away.

Henry David Thoreau 

  • Dignity consists not in possessing honors, but in the consciousness that we deserve them.


  • Acquit me, or do not acquit me; but be sure that I shall not alter my way of life, no, not if I have to die for it many times.