Character Quotes and Sayings

In compiling the below list of motivational character quotes and sayings, I have been careful to include only the best quotes about the strength of a person’s character, their integrity, and their reputation, that I could find.

Some of the character quotes below offer soaring examples of integrity, while others focus more on character development. Some of the character quotes below are famous, while others are less well-known.

Without further ado, here are the best quotes about the strength of a person’s character. (For more on character, be sure to read my article on character traits.)

The Best Character Quotes

“The virtue of a person is measured not by his outstanding efforts, but by his everyday behavior.” — Blaise Pascal

“Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” — Theodore Roosevelt

“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

“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.

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

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

“It is better to be alone than in bad company.” ― George Washington

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

“Courage. Kindness. Friendship. Character. These are the qualities that define us as human beings, and propel us, on occasion, to greatness.” ― R.J. Palacio

“Character is what you know you are, not what others think you have.” — Marva Collins

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

“I choose my friends for their good looks, my acquaintances for their good characters, and my enemies for their good intellects. A man cannot be too careful in the choice of his enemies.” — Oscar Wilde

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

“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

“Focus on your strengths, not your weaknesses. Focus on your character, not your reputation. Focus on your blessings, not your misfortunes.” ― Roy T. Bennett

“You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.” ― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“A good name will shine forever.” ― Proverb

“Actions, looks, words, and steps form the alphabet by which you may spell character.” ― Johann Kasper Lavater

“I am convinced that life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent of how I react to it. And so it is with you.” ― Charles R. Swindoll

“Character and personal force are the only investments worth anything.” ― Walt Whitman

“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

“To see what is right and not do it is the worst cowardice.” ― Confucius

“Character is destiny.” ― Heraclitus

While there are tens of thousands of character quotes to choose from, I choose to keep this collection to the very best of them, while updating it whenever I come across a great new one.

If you have kids or you’re a school teacher, please don’t hesitate to share this list with your students, as children can learn a great deal from reading inspirational quotes on character building and integrity. And as noted above, if you want to read more on character, my article on character traits is a great place to start.