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Quotations about Self-Control

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NOTE:  Some of the quotes on this page were submitted to me by visitors, and not all have been verified for original source or wording. I'm working hard to confirm everything, but in the meantime please be aware of the possibility for errors.   —ღ Terri, March 2021

Most powerful is he who has himself in his own power. ~Seneca

Discipline is remembering what you want. ~David Campbell

Self-respect is the root of discipline: The sense of dignity grows with the ability to say no to oneself. ~Abraham Joshua Heschel, The Insecurity of Freedom: Essays on Human Existence, 1967

Not being able to govern events, I govern myself, and apply myself to them, if they will not apply themselves to me. ~Michel de Montaigne, Essays, 1588

How like herrings and onions our vices are in the morning after we have committed them. ~Samuel Taylor Coleridge

The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on, or blame. The gift is yours — it is an amazing journey — and you alone are responsible for the quality of it. This is the day your life really begins. ~Bob Moawad

I have been my own disciple and my own master. And I have been a good disciple but a bad master. ~Antonio Porchia, Voces, 1943, translated from Spanish by W.S. Merwin

Discipline weighs ounces, regret weighs tons. ~Author Unknown

Everyone must choose one of two pains: The pain of discipline or the pain of regret. ~Jim Rohn

All men are tempted. There is no man that lives that can’t be broken down, provided it is the right temptation, put in the right spot. ~Henry Ward Beecher, Proverbs from Plymouth Pulpit, 1887

The cyclone derives its powers from a calm center. So does a person. ~Norman Vincent Peale

To try yourself for Strength and Self-Control,
Deny yourself — and do not tell a Soul!
~Arthur Guiterman, "Of Discipline," A Poet's Proverbs, 1924

Those who flee temptation generally leave a forwarding address. ~Lane Olinghouse

It is a man’s own mind, not his enemy or foe, that lures him to evil ways. ~Buddha

The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it. ~Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1891

What makes resisting temptation difficult for many people is they don’t want to discourage it completely. ~Franklin P. Jones 

Do you really think it is weakness that yields to temptation? I tell you that there are terrible temptations which it requires strength, strength and courage to yield to. ~Oscar Wilde

It’s all right letting yourself go, as long as you can get yourself back. ~Mick Jagger

Renouncing present Pleasure counts for Gain,
When present Pleasure carries future Pain.
~Arthur Guiterman, "Of Discipline," A Poet's Proverbs, 1924

To conquer oneself is a greater task than conquering others. ~Buddha

And so, Reader, (for it is time to have done with guessing) would I bid you conquer in your warfare against your four great enemies, the world, the devil, the flesh, and above all, that obstinate and perverse self-will, unaided by which the other three would be comparatively powerless. ~Augustus William Hare and Julius Charles Hare, Guesses at Truth, by Two Brothers, 1827

I am,
a king,
because I know how
to rule myself.
~Pietro Aretino, 1537

Did you make any New Year's resolutions? No, you can't really say that you did. Did you ever know anyone who did make New Year's resolutions — regular, honest-to-George-Washington ones? I don't mean the comic supplement brand, "I'm going to swear off something or other," with the right paw raised facetiously, not that sort, but the genuine renunciation with the will power tied up in hard soulful knots and the light of spiritual abnegation in your eye! Yes; in your eye!... Well, you know why you don't make these resolutions! It's because they are difficult, and there is no sense in doing difficult things until you have done all the easy things there are to do. ~James Montgomery Flagg, "I Should Say So: Four Easy New Year's Resolutions," 1915

You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage — pleasantly, smilingly, nonapologetically — to say "no" to other things. And the way to do that is by having a bigger "yes" burning inside. The enemy of the "best" is often the "good." ~Stephen Covey

Where Self-restraint is lacking, Order ceases.
A Hoopless Barrel tumbles all to pieces.
~Arthur Guiterman, "Of Discipline," A Poet's Proverbs, 1924

If we resist our passions, it is more because of their weakness than because of our strength. ~François VI de la Rochefoucault

For every man there exists a bait which he cannot resist swallowing. ~Friedrich Nietzsche

The first attribute that characterizes the greater man from the moron is his thicker layer of inhibition. ~Martin H. Fischer (1879–1962)

Gaining Strength and Self-Control,
Pay the Debt you owe your Soul!
~Arthur Guiterman, "Of Duty," A Poet's Proverbs, 1924

Discipline is money in the bank. A real friend, true strength. ~Henry Rollins

Heaven is on the other side of that feeling you get when you’re sitting on the couch and you get up and make a triple-decker sandwich. It’s on the other side of that, when you don’t make the sandwich. It’s about sacrifice.... It’s about giving up the things that basically keep you from feeling. That’s what I believe, anyway. I’m always asking, "What am I going to give up next?"  Because I want to feel. ~Jim Carrey, from a Michael Fleming interview in the March 2004 issue of Playboy magazine

An element of abstention, of restraint, must enter into all finer joys. ~Vida D. Scudder

May I ever practice self-control,
      May I learn to be patient and kind;
      May I meet my problems with wisdom;
      If I do, I will have peace of mind.
May I keep my temper every day;
      May I be honest and fair and brave;
      May calmness cover me, as a cloak,
      That my own self-respect I may save.
When I give way to anger and fear,
      And when to passions I am a slave,
      I am harming my body and soul
      That my God, in His love, to me gave.
~Gertrude Tooley Buckingham, "When I Am Master of My Soul" (1940s)

Conscience whispers, but interest screams aloud. ~J. Petit-Senn

Not using faults does not mean that one does not have them. ~Antonio Porchia, Voces, 1943, translated from Spanish by W.S. Merwin

The trouble with resisting temptation is it may never come your way again. ~Korman’s Law

Who is fit to govern others?
He who governs himself.
You might as well have said: nobody.
~Augustus William Hare and Julius Charles Hare, Guesses at Truth, by Two Brothers, 1827

Serving one’s own passions is the greatest slavery. ~Thomas Fuller, Gnomologia

There is no allurement or enticement, actual or imaginary, which a well-disciplined mind may not surmount. The wish to resist more than half accomplishes the object. ~Charlotte Dacre, The Passions, 1811

[I]t is easy to regard the mind and the body as two slaves trained to obey the imperial soul.... [I]n this trinity of soul, mind, and body, it is sometimes hard to tell which of the three is at work; and the personality of each of the three parties interferes a good deal with that of each of the others. But if you who read will remember that you are an infinite child of God, and can partake of his nature, and that you have given to you the management and direction of your mind and your body, you will be saved many failures. ~Edward Everett Hale, "How to Get the Best of It," c.1892  (" a few words and in short metre, the notions I have gained from experience of the best way for handling one's machinery of life so as to get the best and the most of it...")

Most people want to be delivered from temptation but would like it to keep in touch. ~Robert Orben

Nothing makes it easier to resist temptation than a proper bringing-up, a sound set of values — and witnesses. ~Franklin P. Jones

About the only time losing is more fun than winning is when you’re fighting temptation. ~Tom Wilson

There is a charm about the forbidden that makes it unspeakably desirable. ~Mark Twain

Do not bite at the bait of pleasure till you know there is no hook beneath it. ~Thomas Jefferson

We like slipping, but not falling; our real anxiety is to be tempted enough. ~Augustus William Hare and Julius Charles Hare, Guesses at Truth, by Two Brothers, 1827

If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins. ~Benjamin Franklin

No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good. A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is... You find out the strength of a wind by trying to walk against it, not by lying down. A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness. They have lived a sheltered life by always giving in. ~C. S. Lewis

Opportunity may knock only once, but temptation leans on the doorbell. ~Author Unknown

You are a puppet, but in the hands of the infinite, which may be your own. ~Antonio Porchia, Voces, 1943, translated from Spanish by W.S. Merwin

Abstainer, n. A weak person who yields to the temptation of denying himself a pleasure. ~Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary, 1911

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Last saved 2021 Mar 21 Sun 14:21 PDT

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