Speak but little and well, if you would be esteemed as a man of merit.
It is especially important to express your feelings of joy when giving charity to a poor person. Show the person you are glad to be able to help him out. Showing displeasure giving charity erases the merit of giving.
The existence of law is one thing; its merit or demerit is another.
The ambitious man grasps at opinion as necessary to his designs; the vain man sure for it as a testimony to his merit; the honest man demands it as his due; and most men consider it as necessary to their existence.
In politics, merit is rewarded by the possessor being raised, like a target, to a position to be fired at.
Vanity is a strong temptation to lying; it makes people magnify their merit, over-flourish their family, and tell strange stories of their interest and acquaintance.
Undeserved merit is satire.
Real merit requires as much labor, to be placed in a true light, a humbug to be elevated to an unworthy eminence; only the success of the false is temporary that of the true, immortal.
Do not pride yourself on the few great men who, over the centuries, have been born on your earth through no merit of yours. Reflect, rather, on how you have treated them at the time, and how you have followed their teachings.
Almost every conspicuously successful American owes his rise to having thrown himself heartily into his work and to having done it better than ordinary. Promotion comes to those who demonstrate that they can do more and better work than others. Look upon your work as the lever by which you can rise in the world. To get the best and the most out of life, put the best and the most of yourself into it. Eventually each of us gets rewards we merit.
It is not possible to be regarded with tenderness, except by a few. That merit which gives greatness and renown diffuses its influence to a wide compass, but acts weakly on every single breast; it is placed at a distance from common spectators, and shines like one of the remote stars, of which the light reaches us, but not the heat.
No man is nobler born than another, unless he is born with better abilities and more amiable disposition. They who make such a parade with their family pictures, and pedigrees, are, properly speaking, rather to be called noted or notorious than noble persons. I thought it right to say this much, in order to repel the insolence of men who depend entirely upon chance and accidental circumstances for distinction, and not at all on public services and personal merit.
God considers not the action, but the spirit of the action. It is the intention, not the deed wherein the merit or praise of the doer consists.
Truth is the only merit that gives dignity and worth to history.
Reward is what you receive, merit is what you do.
The mischief of flattery is not that it persuades any man that he is what he is not, but that it suppresses the influence of honest ambition, by raising an opinion that honor may be gained without the toil of merit.
The sage does not display himself, therefore he shines. He does not approve himself therefore he is noted. He does not praise himself, therefore he has merit. He does not glory in himself, therefore he excels.
Not all ideas and beliefs and ideals have equal merit.
Moderation has been declared a virtue so as to curb the ambition of the great and console lesser folk for their lack of fortune and merit.
[Plato's ideal society] guarantees to all people the right to an education that diagnoses and perfects their unique talents, plus a work role that conveys a sense of self-esteem, saving them from the neuroses of megalomania and the lust for power. It forbids privilege and sexism and all other criteria irrelevant to merit. It eliminates conflict of interest from those who hold office and gives the masses a potent checklist they can use to hold their rulers to account. Best of all, it eliminates all traces of "might makes right" and serves as a pattern laid up in heaven to rank actual societies in terms of what corrupts them. Society becomes more corrupt as the struggle for power becomes more brutal.