Quotations on Values and Virtues from Many Great Minds
You can really benefit from really thinking about the following examples of values and virtues in the form of quotations from many great minds. It is applied philosophy in a very accessible form. VOW has nearly 27,000 quotes, proverbs, poetry, and lyrics relevant to values and virtues such as knowledge, education, peace, liberty, wisdom, ingenuity, lightheartedness, responsibility, and justice – for free. When asking what the meaning of values and virtues is, don’t go to one source for a “definition,” explore what many great minds have had to say about this deep and wide topic over many centuries. Be your own teacher and guide.
Respect, Tolerance & Modesty
- Don’t judge anyone harshly until you have been through his experiences. ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (b. 1749) German writer
- When a man is wrapped up in himself he makes a pretty small package. ~ ~ John Ruskin (b. 1819) English artist and critic
- If I have seen farther it is by standing on the shoulders of giants. ~ attributed to Isaac Newton (b. 1643) English physicist
- Patience and passage of time do more than strength and fury. ~ Jean de la Fontaine (b. 1621) French writer
- He who wants a rose must respect the thorn. ~ Persian proverb
- You take people as far as they will go, not as far as you would like them to go. ~ Jeanette Rankin (b. 1880) American pacifist and social activist
- In the practice of tolerance, one’s enemy is the best teacher. ~ Tenzin Gyatso (b. 1935) The fourteenth Dalai Lama.
Dedication, Responsibility & Will
- There is a kind of virtue that lies not in extraordinary actions, not in saving poor orphans from burning buildings, but in steadfastly working for a world where orphans are not poor and buildings comply with decent fire codes. ~ Randy Cohen Writer on ethics
- Diligence is the Mother of Good luck. ~ Benjamin Franklin (b. 1706) Founding Father of America
- When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on. ~ Thomas Jefferson (b. 1743) Thinker, writer, statesman.
- There are no victims in this society. There are trials and tribulations and difficulties that stem from race and gender and whatever, but I believe you must take responsibility for yourself. You have to believe that you can take charge of your life. ~ Condoleeza Rice (b. 1954) National Security Advisor to George W. Bush
- That I did not fail was due in part to patience…. ~ Jane Goodall (b. 1934) scientist.
- If we think we have ours and don’t owe any time or money or effort to help those left behind, then we are a part of the problem rather than the solution to the fraying social fabric that threatens all Americans. ~ Marian Wright Edelman (b. 1939) children’s advocate
- There are no shortcuts to any place worth going. ~ Beverly Sills (b. 1929) American opera singer
Honor, Integrity & Morality
- In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of doing wrong deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. ~ Martin Luther King, Jr. (b. 1929) Civil rights pioneer
- Human happiness and moral duty are inseparably connected. ~ George Washington (b. 1732) America’s first president
- He first practices what he preaches, and then he preaches according to this practice. ~ Confucius (b. 550, B.C.E.) Chinese philosopher
- It is better to receive an injury than to inflict one. ~ Cicero (b. 106, B.C.E.) Roman orator and statesman
- You can stand tall without standing on someone. You can be a victor without having victims. ~ Harriet Woods
- It’s a matter of taking the side of the weak against the strong, something the best people have always done. ~ Harriet Beecher Stowe (b. 1811) American writer
- There is no hell like a troubled conscience. ~ English proverb
Truth & Justice
- Great is truth, and it prevails. ~ III Esdras, 4:41
- Never assume the obvious is true. ~ William Safire (b. 1929) American writer and political thinker.
- He who commits wrong must suffer wrong. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson (b. 1803) American writer and pioneer of personal growth
- Something is wrong in America when I’m paying a lower tax rate than my secretary. ~ Warren Buffett (b. 1930) wealthy American philanthropist
- When has justice ever been as simple as a rule book? ~ Ralph Wills
- The ultimate aim of the human mind, in all its efforts, is to become acquainted with Truth. ~ Eliza Farnham (b. 1815) American novelist and social reformer
- Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth. ~ Albert Einstein
Below are more values and virtues
Fulfillment, Meaning & Optimism
- Your work is to discover your work, and then with all your heart to give yourself to it. ~ Siddhartha Gautama (b. 623 B.C.E.) The Buddha.
- Man is the only animal for whom his own existence is a problem which he has to solve. ~ Erich Fromm (b. 1900) German-American psychologist.
- Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement; nothing can be done without hope or confidence ~ Helen Keller (b. 1880) Amazing person.
- Recommend to your children virtue; that alone can make them happy, not gold. ~ Ludwig von Beethoven (b. 1770) German composer
- The longest journey is the journey inwards of him who has chosen his destiny. ~ Dag Hammarskjöld (b. 1905) Swedish statesman
- Not for pleasure does man strive, but for power…the most alive feeling of power. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche (b. 1844) German philosopher
- True contentment is the power of getting out of any situation all there is in it. ~ G. K. Chesterton (b. 1874) English writer
- We could never learn to be brave and patient if there were only joy in the world. ~ Helen Keller (b. 1880) Extraordinary woman.
Creativity, Ingenuity & Vision
- Be creative with every moment. ~ Jan Phillips (b. 1949) writer and thought leader
- Success is often just an idea away. ~ Frank Tyger
- Two men look out through the same bars; one sees the mud and one the stars. ~ Frederick Langbridge (b. 1849) English poet and reverend
- Every child is an artist; the problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up. ~ Pablo Picasso (b. 1881) Spanish artist
- The voyage of discovery lies not in finding new landscapes but in having new eyes. ~ Marcel Proust (b. 1871) French writer
- Creativity belongs to the artist in each of us. To create means to relate. The root meaning of the word art is “to fit together” and we all do this
- every day. Not all of us are painters but we are all artists. Each time we fit things together we are creating – whether it is to make a loaf of bread, a child, a day. ~ Corita Kent (b. 1918) American muralist
- America has incredibly difficult issues and an honest search for solutions can only come from a sustained effort by the broadest array of America’s brightest and wisest men and women. What the U.S. really needs is leadership that could marshal that effort. ~ Bob Herbert, journalist for the New York Times
Self-Confidence & Self-Worth
- Fear feeds on itself; so does confidence and self-reliance. Make your choice. ~ Leonard Leeman (b. 1938) American writer
- reality is my reality. I’m not going to deny it. I’m not going to deny it at all. I stand in front of people. Behold my reality. ~ Carlos Santana (b. 1947) Mexican-American guitarist.
- What a lovely surprise to discover how un-lonely being alone can be. ~ Ellen Burstyn (b. 1932) American actress
- When we grant another person the status of hero, we instinctively protect his claim to superiority by denying our own full potential for empowerment. ~ Sue Erikson Bloland, American psychoanalyst
- If you think you’re too small to make a difference, you’ve never been in bed with a mosquito. ~ Anita Roddick (b. 1942) English social activist and socially-responsible entrepreneur
- Happiness depends upon ourselves. ~ Aristotle (b. 384, B.C.E.) Ancient Greek philosopher
- Do what you feel in your heart to be right – for you’ll be criticized anyway. You’ll be “damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
Strength & Courage
- The great, wonderful quality of human beings is that we can overcome even absolute terror, and we do. ~ Isabel Allende (b. 1942) Chilean-American writer
- Without courage, we cannot hold out against the worst in ourselves or others. ~ André Comte-Sponville (b. 1952) French philosopher
- Why were the adults who faced World War II the “greatest generation?” Not because they were made of different stuff than we are, but because they faced a time of trouble that evoked the ancient strengths within. ~ Martin E. P. Seligman, Psychologist and pioneer of “positive psychology”
- Learn to say no. It will be more use to you than to able to read Latin. ~ Charles Spurgeon (b. 1834) English preacher and writer
- Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage. Anais Nin (b. 1903) French-American writer
- The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong. ~ Mohandas K. Gandhi (b. 1869) Indian peace and justice pioneer.
- The more tests of hardship one passes, the greater he will become. ~ Chinese proverb
Below are more values and virtues
Kindness, Magnanimity & Altruism
- I found that if business is managed from the heart, great things can and will happen. All that is stopping us is our imagination. ~ Anita Roddick (b. 1942) Owner of the socially-responsible “The Body Shop”
- Human kindness shines like blazing torches. Kindness is an act of mercy given away responsibly by a person who has every right to express wrath. ~ Alwyn Pereira, church-based youth leader
- We all belong to one human family. ~ Irene, rescuer of Jews during World War II.
- My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness. ~ Tenzin Gyatso (b. 1935) The Tibetan Buddhist philosophical leader
- The great man is the one who does not lose his originally good child’s heart. ~ Mencius (372 B.C.E.) Chinese philosopher
- Blessed is he who expects no gratitude, for he shall not be disappointed. ~ W. C. Bennett (b. 1867)
- Competition and individualism appear to be basic human needs, and society benefits from them. But they need to be tempered and balanced by care. ~ Pearl M. Oliner & Samuel P. Oliner, American sociologists
Development, Progressivism & Integration
- How could I integrate my need for spirituality and love with my desire for material comforts and the good life? How could I stop keeping score the old way and start keeping score a new way? How could I build a truly successful, happy life – one of significance? ~ Mark Albion, American writer
- If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living. ~ Gail Sheehy American political writer
- This is the journey that men make: to find themselves. If they fail in this, it doesn’t matter much what else they find. ~ James A. Michener (b. 1907) American novelist
- What is important is how closely we look today at what is done to human beings, what criteria we use for “progress.” We are accustomed to measuring the state of the nation by the numbers on the stock market rather than by how many children die of malnutrition. ~ Howard Zinn (b. 1922) American radical historian and progressive social activist
- I do not try to dance better than anyone else. I only try to dance better than myself. ~ Mikhail Baryshnikov (b. 1948) Russian dancer
- It is never too late to be what you might have been. ~ George Eliot (b. 1819) English writer
- If we don’t turn around now, we just may get where we’re going ~ Navajo proverb
Passion, Willingness to Risk & Self-Awareness
- I feel that if one follows what I call one’s “bliss” – the thing that really gets you deep in the gut and that you feel is your life – doors will open up. They do! They have in my life and they have in many lives I know of. ~ Joseph Campbell (b. 1904) American cultural anthropologist and writer
- I was sad to see my father cry, but I understood it, because sometimes a man has to cry. ~ Rudolfo A. Anaya (b. 1937) Mexican-American writer
- If you let yourself be absorbed completely, if you surrender completely to the moments as they pass, you live more richly those moments. ~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh (b. 1906) American writer
- When in doubt, risk it. ~ Holbrook Jackson (b. 1874) English journalist
- Is not life a hundred times too short for us to bore ourselves? ~ Friedrich Nietzsche (b. 1844) German philosopher
- A day you waste is one you can never make up. ~ George Allen (b. 1922) American sports coach
- Know thyself ~ Socrates (b. 469, B.C.E.) Ancient Greek philosopher
Below are more values and virtues
Liberty & Peace
- Peace is possible around the world, and children are the answer. ~ Quincy Jones (b. 1933) American music producer
- He is happiest, be he king or peasant, who finds peace in his home. ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (b. 1749) German writer
- The real and lasting victories are those of peace, and not of war. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson (b. 1803) American writer and pioneer in personal development
- I had reasoned this out in my mind, there was one of two things I had a right to: liberty or death; if I could not have one, I would have the other. ~ Harriet Tubman (b. 1819) American slave and abolitionist
- The government was set to protect man from criminals – and the Constitution was written to protect man from the government. ~ Ayn Rand (b. 1905) Russian-American writer
- As terrible as 9/11 was, it didn’t repeal the Constitution. ~ Rosemary Pooler (b. 1938) American judge
- Freewill, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having. A world of automata – of creatures that worked like machines – would hardly be worth creating. ~ C. S. Lewis (b. 1898) Irish writer
- Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons. ~ Bertrand Russell (b. 1872) English philosopher and agnostic.
Knowledge, Wisdom & Education
- It requires no wisdom to become a father, but it does to be one. ~ Leonard Leeman American writer
- The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding. ~ Leonardo da Vinci (b. 1452) Italian inventor and scientist.
- Man masters nature not by force, but by understanding. ~ Jacob Bronowski (b. 1908) Polish-American writer
- I never teach my pupils; I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn. ~ Albert Einstein (b. 1879) German-American physicist
- A king without learning is but a crowned ass. ~ English proverb
- Better to build schoolrooms for the boy than cells for the man. ~ Eliza Cook (b. 1818) English author
- If you wish to learn the highest truth, you must begin with the alphabet. ~ Japanese proverb
Humor, Lightheartedness & Acceptance of the Absurd
- Life’s tragedy is that we get old too soon and wise too late. ~ Benjamin Franklin (b. 1706) American statesman
- Sometimes you just have to bow to the absurd. ~ Melinda M. Snodgrass (b. 1951) American writer
- One doesn’t have a sense of humor. It has you. ~ Larry Gelbart (b. 1923) American author
- Men show their character in nothing more clearly than by what they think laughable. ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (b. 1749) German writer
- When I was young, I was put in a school for retarded kids for two years before they realized I actually had a hearing loss. And they called ME slow! ~ Kathy Buckley (b. 1948) American comedienne
- The aim of a joke is not to degrade the human being but to remind him that he is already degraded. ~ George Orwell (b. 1903) English writer
- Don’t worry. Be happy. ~ Meher Baba (b. 1894) Persian-Indian self-described guru
I hope you enjoyed these quotes about values and virtues from many great minds throughout centuries of thought and philosophy. I think you will enjoy searching in The Wisdom Archive for many other examples. Always free. VOW has nearly 27,000 proverbs and quotations about values and virtues such as wisdom, creativity, humor, dedication, and truth – for free. Part of the strength of Values of the Wise is this: the diversity of the quotes is not quick or easy to explore, absorb, or appreciate, but they do go down deep. Remember, the tortoise wins the race…
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