Do you wish to find out a person's weak points? Note the failings he has the quickest eye for in others.
A person not aware of his faults and failings will not work on self-improvement. But if he overexaggerates the extent of his negative qualities and behavior, he will become discouraged and his discouragement will prevent him from improving.
One of man's greatest failings is that he looks almost always for an excuse, in the misfortune that befalls him through his own fault, before looking for a remedy - which means he often finds the remedy too late.
Those who devote themselves to the peaceful study of nature have but little temptation to launch out upon the tempestuous sea of ambition; they will scarcely be hurried away by the more violent or cruel passions, the ordinary failings of those ardent persons who do not control their conduct; but, pure as the objects of their researches, they will feel for everything about them the same benevolence which they see nature display toward all her productions.
If a man attack his own failings instead of those of others, will he not remedy his personal faults?
Great merit or great failings will make you respected or despised; but trifles, little attentions, mere nothings, either done or neglected, will make you either liked or disliked, in the general run of the world. Examine yourself, why you like such and such people and dislike such and such others; and you will find that those different sentiments proceed from very slight causes.
The great imperfection of most of us proceeds from want of reflection, but, on the other hand, there are many who think overmuch, who fall into the mistake of too close self-inspection, and who are perpetually fretting over their failings and weaknesses.
Such is the force of envy and ill-nature, that the failings of good men are more published to the world than their good deeds; and one fault of a well-deserving man shall meet with more reproaches than all his virtues will with praise.
Moral habits, induced by public practices, are far quicker in making their way into men's private lives, than the failings and faults of individuals are in infecting the city at large.
They were in the world and not of it--not because they were saints, but in a different way: because they were artists. The integrity of an artist lifts a man above the level of the world without delivering him from it.