Quotes: Misery Builds Character

Real Life

"What doesn't kill us makes us stronger."

"Is despair an excellence or a defect? Purely dialectically, it is both. If only the abstract idea of despair is considered, without the thought of someone in despair, it must be regarded as a surpassing excellence. Consequently, to be able to despair is an infinite advantage over the beasts, and yet to be in despair is not only the worst misfortune and misery�no, it is ruination!"
Søren Kierkegaard

"Out of suffering emerge the strongest souls. The most massive characters are seared with scars."
Kahlil Gibran

Gregg: When my wife and I lived in Belgium, which is about 400 miles north of Maine, we became aware of seasonal light differences. In December, I'd put the kids on their school bus in darkness; it would return in darkness.
Drew: NO WAY! Really? I had no fucking idea that daylight changes with the seasons. Someone get me a Eurorail pass to Bruges so I can witness this phenomenon in person.
Gregg: In June, night would not fall until around 11p.m., then the bedroom window would start to glow around 4 a.m. Pronounced differences in solar timing made me understand why seasonal cycles played such a role in European mythology.
Drew: Oh my God, it’s true. When Francisco says “For this relief much thanks: 'tis bitter cold, And I am sick at heart.” at the beginning of Hamlet, it’s because Denmark is, indeed, cold! That’s quite something! But tell me, Greggggggg, how might I apply this new learning to modern ethical lapses?
Gregg: Now most Americans other than farmers and construction workers pay little heed to what time the sun rises and sets…
Drew: So true. Just this past Tuesday, I walked outside and fell into a hole because it was night and I did not notice.
Gregg: ...while most of us are always too warm. Going back to cool buildings and early bedtimes in winter might be good for our national health.
Drew: Who made this person? How does a person come to be like this? If hanging out in warm buildings and going to bed late helps PREVENT me from being like Greggggggg, I’m all for it. Okay, so that was horrible. This is worse:
Gregg: Should College Cheerleaders Be Sexy?
Drew: Christ... BE AUTHENTICALLY SEXY, YOU WHORES. AND SUFFER IN THE COLD SO AS TO APPEASE THE FOOTBALL GODS.

"Finally, I want to congratulate all the fans. We have a proud tradition in Chicago of believing that no matter how long it takes, how much we have to endure, it's only a matter of time before our team finally wins it all. The waiting builds character. We have a lot of character."
Barack Obama, receiving his hometown Chicago Blackhawks on the White House after they ended a 49 year Stanley Cup drought

Fiction

"In order for [my son] to be a responsible adult, he has to be miserable now!"
Red, That '70s Show

Penny: Without that show, I have nothing!
Prudy: Having nothing builds character!

"Suffering is food for the soul. NOW SUFFER!"
Evilene, The Wiz

I don't need luck though, I don't want it. I've always had to struggle and fight and that's made me strong. Its made me who I am.

"No-one is born wise. We get that way only by enduring."
Loghain, Dragon Age: Origins

"Calvin, go do something you hate! Being miserable builds character!"
Calvin, doing an impression of his father, Calvin and Hobbes

"If one were to say what it is to do good, in a single word it would be to endure suffering. Not enduring is bad without exception."
Yamamoto Tsumetomo, paraphrasing Master Issei, Hagakure: The Book of Samurai

"The stone cannot know why the chisel cleaves it; the iron cannot know why the fire scorches it. When thy life is cleft and scorched, when death and despair leap at thee, beat not thy breast and curse thy evil fate, but thank the Builder for the trials that shape thee."
The Hammer Book of Tenets, Thief: The Dark Project

"If you're ever gonna find a silver lining, it's gotta be a cloudy day.
Kacey Musgraves, "Silver Lining"

Maggie Holt: You gotta own the past, don’t you? Own the bad parts as well as the good. Let it make you stronger.
Blake Thorburn: What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger?
Maggie: Yes. Exactly.
Blake: I always hated that phrase. No. What doesn’t kill you makes you weaker.
Pact