Character and Will
"OF all the tasks which are set before man in life, the education and management of his character is the most important, and, in order that it should be successfully performed, it is necessary that he should make a calm and careful survey of his own tendencies, unblinded either by the self-deception which conceals errors and magnifies excellencies, or by the indiscriminate pessimism which refuses to recognize his powers for good. He must avoid the fatalism which would persuade him that he has no power over his nature, and he must also clearly recognize that this power is not unlimited" ( W. E. H. Lecky).
Up to this point we have been discussing the raw materials of character, namely, disposition, temperament and temper. Now we must consider what we mean by "character," and how character is formed. For character is not something given in our inborn constitution; it is something that we gradually acquire, each in our degree. Sometimes we speak of a man as lacking in character, and of another we say that he is "a character." But it