Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Behavior

"What a great deal of ease that man gains who lets his neighbor's behavior alone and takes care that his own actions are honest." - Marcus Aurelius, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus

"Courtesy, kindness, sincerity, truthfulness, thoughtfulness and good manners translated into behavior reflect one's true character." - Harry F. Banks, real name possibly Harry Band

"There will always be people who criticize the behavior of others, regardless of how great they are or what they do." - Naftali Zvi Horowitz of Ropshitz

"The spirit of true religion breathes gentleness and affability; it gives a native, unaffected ease to the behavior; it is social, kind, cheerful; far removed from the cloudy and illiberal disposition which clouds the brow, sharpens the temper, and dejects the spirit." - Hugh Blair

"Give up the notion that there is a final state to attain. Spiritual life consists of ongoing practice undertaken as a lifetime work. This realization breeds humility, especially when we realize that in our initial infatuation with enlightenment, we underestimate the amount of inner work necessary to free us from our addictive patterns of thought and behavior." - Stephan Bodian

"In Confucianism, all of us - men and women - are born soldiers. The soldier is the universal individual. No matter what you do for a living - doctor, lawyer, fisherman, thief - you are a fighter. Life is war. The war is to maintain personal integrity in a world that demands betrayal and corruption. All behavior is strategy and tactics. All relationships are martial. Marriages are military alliances." - Frank Chin

"All of our controlling behavior - our anger, blame, pouting, teaching, explaining, caretaking, compliance, and denial - comes from believing that we can control what others think of us and how they treat us, and that how they think of us and treat us defines us." - Erika Chopich and Margaret Paul

"More errors arise from inhibited indecision than from impulsive behavior." - Morris Ernst, fully Morris Leopold Ernst

"Behavior is a mirror, in which everyone shows his image." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"Forgiveness means giving up, letting go. It has nothing to do with condoning behavior. It's just letting the whole thing go. 'I forgive you for not being the way I want you to be. I forgive you and set you free.' (Affirmation sets you free.)" - Louise L. Hay

"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." - Yehoshua Heller

"The end of all moral speculations is to teach us our duty; and, by proper representations of deformity of vice, and beauty of virtue, beget correspondent habits, and engage us to avoid the one and embrace the other. But is this ever to be expected from inferences and conclusions of the understanding, which of themselves have no hold of the affections, or set in motion the active powers of men? They discover truths: but where the truths which they discover are indifferent, and beget no desire or aversion, they can have no influence on conduct and behavior." - David Hume

"The relationship between moral action and spiritual knowledge is circular, as it were, and reciprocal. Selfless behavior makes possible an accession of knowledge, and the accession of knowledge makes possible the performance of further and more genuinely selfless actions, which in their turn enhance the agent’s capacity for knowing... A man undertakes right action (which includes, of course, right consciousness and right meditation), and this enables him to catch a glimpse of the Self that underlies his separate individuality. Having seen his own self as the Self, he becomes selfless (and therefore acts selflessly) and in virtue of selflessness he is to be conceived as unconditioned." - Aldous Leonard Huxley

"Morality cannot be legislated, but behavior can be regulated. Judicial decrees may not change the heart, but they can restrain the heartless." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Freedom is in the moment of action, which is behavior. It is not related to yesterday or tomorrow." - Jiddu Krishnamurti

"There is no outward sign of politeness which has not a deep, moral reason. Behavior is a mirror in which every one shows his own image. There is a politeness of the heart akin to love, from which springs the easiest politeness of outward behavior... Politeness is not always a sign of wisdom, but the want of it always leaves room for the suspicion of folly." - Walter Savage Landor

"A person is a success if he works on the trait of sincerely desiring other people’s success. It is easy to talk as if you wish someone success but inwardly hope he fails. In general you should know that without hard work and wisdom it is impossible to reach any virtue, and you will remain with your natural tendencies and behavior." - Yechezkail Levenstein

"A wise man is superior to any insults which can be put upon him, and the best reply to unseemly behavior is patience and moderation." - Molière, pen name of Jean Baptiste Poquelin NULL

"The laws of conscience, which we say are born of nature, are born of custom. Each man, holding in inward veneration the opinions and the behavior approved and accepted around him, cannot break loose from them without remorse, or apply himself to them without self-satisfaction." - Michel de Montaigne, fully Lord Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

"If only man could be induced to laugh more they might hate less, and find more serenity here on earth. If they cannot worship together, or accept the same laws, or tolerate the wonderful diversity of thought and behavior and physique with which they have been blessed, at least they can laugh together." - Madame de Motteville, Françoise Bertaut de Motteville

"Frequently when we get angry at someone we fail to realize that he sees the situation much differently than we do. While we think he is acting wrongly, he views his behavior as correct. Since he is acting in a manner he considers proper, we should not condemn him and become angry." - Rabbi Eliezer ben Isaac Papo, aka "ha-Kosesh" or "The Saint"

"If thou desire to see thy child virtuous, let him not see his father’s vices; thou canst not rebuke that in children that they behold practiced in thee; till reason be ripe, examples direct more than precepts; such as thy behavior is before they children’s faces, such commonly is theirs behind their parents backs." - Francis Quarles

"Example is contagious behavior." - Charles Reade

"It is a notable circumstance that mothers who are themselves open to severe comments as to their moral character, are generally most solicitous as to the virtuous behavior of their daughters." -

"I have come to feel that the only learning which significantly influences behavior is self-discovered, self-appropriated learning." -

"Levity of behavior is the bane of all that is good and virtuous." -

"The contemplation of the Divine Being, and the exercise of virtue, are in their nature so far from excluding all gladness of heart, that they are perpetual sources of it. In a word, the true spirit of religion cheers as well as composes the soul. It banishes, indeed, all levity of behavior, all vicious and dissolute mirth, but in exchange fills the mind with a perpetual serenity, uninterrupted cheerfulness, and an habitual inclination to please others as well as to be pleased in itself." -

"There are two main benefits from suffering. It serves as an atonement for transgressions, and as an incentive for us to improve our behavior. When you improve because of your suffering, appreciate the suffering since you have gained immensely because of it." -

"The behavior of an individual is determined not by his racial affiliation, but by the character of his ancestry and his cultural environment." - Franz Boas, fully Franz Uri Boas

"Music is a part of us, and either ennobles or degrades our behavior." - Boethius, fully Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius NULL

"The only unnatural sexual behavior is none at all." - Sigmund Freud, born Sigismund Schlomo Freud

"To be sure, if it is the purpose of educators to stifle the child’s power of independent thought as early as possible, in order to produce that ‘good behavior’ which is so highly prized, they cannot do better than deceive children in sexual matters and intimidate them by religious means. The stronger characters will, it is true, withstand these influences; they will become rebels against the authority of their parents and later against every other form of authority. When children do not receive the explanations for which they turn to their elders, they go on tormenting themselves in secret with the problem, and produce attempts at solution in which the truth they have guessed is mixed up in the most extraordinary way with grotesque inventions; or else they whisper confidences to each other which, because of the sense of guilt in the youthful inquirers, stamp everything sexual as horrible and disgusting." - Sigmund Freud, born Sigismund Schlomo Freud

"Familiarity may breed contempt in some areas of human behavior, but in the field of social ideas it is the touchstone of acceptability." - J. William Galbraith

"There is a courtesy of the heart; it is allied to love. From its springs the purest courtesy in the outward behavior." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"Central to the notion of masculinity is its rejection of everything that is defined by a culture as feminine and its legitimated control of whatever counts as the feminine... Gender is an asymmetrical category of human thought, social organization, and individual identity and behavior." - Sandra G. Harding

"The essential element of successful strategy is that it derives its success from the differences between competitors with a consequent difference in their behavior. Ordinarily, this means that any corporate policy and plan which is typical of the industry is doomed to mediocrity. Where this is not so, it should be possible to demonstrate that all other competitors are at a distinct disadvantage." - Bruce Doolin Henderson

"Things as they are are changed when we demonstrate a new reality. A very small change in perception can result in a change in behavior and, cumulatively, in a very large change in cultural patterns. Our purpose and destiny are encoded within us. But they do not automatically propel us to the next act in our day, let alone the next stage in our evolution. Our Fourth Instinct allows us to see that next stage, and our free will enables us to act on it so that it can become a reality." - Arianna Huffington, born Arianna Stassinopoulos

"All the philosophy... in the world and all the religion, which is nothing but a species of philosophy, will never be able to carry us beyond the usual course of experience, or give us measures of conduct and behavior different from those which are furnished by reflections on common life." - David Hume

"Mankind are so much the same, in all times and places, that history informs us of nothing new or strange in this particular. Its chief use is only to discover the constant and universal principles of human nature, by showing men in all varieties of circumstances and situations, and furnishing us with materials from which we may form our observations and become acquainted with the regular springs of human action and behavior." - David Hume

"The Golden Rule exists in each of the world's major religions... Hinduism: Do naught to others which, if done to thee, would cause thee pain: this is the sum of duty. Buddhism: A clansman [should] minister to his friends and familiars... by treating them as he treats himself. Confucianism: The Master replied: "What you do not want done to yourself, do not do unto others." Taoism: To those who are good to me, I am good; and to those who are not good to me, I am also good. And thus all get to be good. To those who are sincere with me, I am sincere; and to those who are not sincere with me, I am also sincere. And thus all get to be sincere. Zorastrianism: Whatever thou dost not approve for thyself, do not approve for anyone else. When thou hast acted in this manner, thou art righteous. Judaism: Take heed to thyself, my child, in all thy works; and be discreet in all thy behavior. And what thou thyself hatest, do to no man. Christianity: All things therefore whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, even so do ye also unto them. Greek Philosophy: Do not do to others what you would not wish to suffer yourself. Treat your friends as you would want them to treat you." - Robert Ernest Hume

"Judging only by outer appearances is a mistake, because things are rarely what they seem... Disapproval of a person is disapproval of God. There is a great difference between being judgmental and using good judgment. You have to love each person’s divine essence, but you do not have to like someone’s inappropriate behavior. Wrong judgment impedes your spiritual growth." - Richard and Mary-Alice Jafolla

"A myth is a collective 'dream' of an entire people at a certain point in their history... But a myth not only lives in literature and imagination, it immediately finds its way into the behavior and attitudes of the culture - into the practical daily lives of the people." - Robert A. Johnson

"Let life teach you what spirit it... By conforming to spiritual ideals imposed from the outside through the force of tradition, people often channel themselves into models of behavior that violate their inner essence. We are all guaranteed realization when we strip away our pre-conceived notions about spiritual perfection, give up striving form some idealized end-point called 'enlightenment,' and discover the magnificence of what we already are and live that fully." - W. Brugh Joy, fully William Brugh Joy

"[On children] Above all things endeavor to breed them up in the love of virtue, and that holy plain way of it which we have lived in, that the world in no part of it get into my family. I had rather they were homely than finely bred as to outward behavior; yet I love sweetness mixed with gravity, and cheerfulness tempered with sobriety." - William Penn

"Clearly a man’s commitment to God shows itself in the language he uses, not only about God, but about the world and his general behavior." - D. Z. Phillips, fully Dewi Zephaniah Phillips

"Our names are labels, plainly printed on the bottled essence of our past behavior." - Logan Pearsall Smith

"Thoughts are behavior. The mind is like a muscle which can be improved with practice. Many 'habits' are a result of poor thinking skills. We play thoughts over and over which keep us distracted from effective problem solving. When out-of-control thoughts run around inside our heads they cause anxiety. We then focus on unproductive thoughts and ideas." - Richard Smolowe, fully Richard Edward Smolowe

"To administer medicine to diseases which have already developed and thereby suppress bodily chaos which has already occurred is comparable to the behavior of those who would begin to dig a well after they have grown thirsty, or those who would begin to cast weapons after they have engaged in battle." - Yellow Emperor's Canon of Internal Medicine NULL

"A man’s behavior is the index of the man, and his discourse is the index of his understanding." - Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib, simply known as Ali NULL

"A man’s virtue is his behavior in the face of his destiny." - Lyman Bryson