Quotes / Misery Builds Character

Real Life

"What does not kill me, makes me 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 miser; no, it is ruination!"
Søren Kierkegaard

"The man, who, being really on the Way, falls upon hard times in the world will not, as a consequence, turn to that friend who offers him refuge and comfort and encourages his old self to survive. Rather, he will seek out someone who will faithfully and inexorably help him to risk himself, so that he may endure the suffering and pass courageously through it. Only to the extent that man exposes himself over and over again to annihilation, can that which is indestructible arise within him. In this lies the dignity of daring."
Karlfried Graf Dürckheim

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

Gregg: Pronounced differences in solar timing made me understand why seasonal cycles played such a role in European mythology.
Drew: Oh my God, itís true. When Francisco says ďFor this relief much thanks: 'tis bitter cold, And I am sick at heart.Ē at the beginning of Hamlet, itís because Denmark is, indeed, cold! Thatís quite something! But tell me, Greggggggg, how might I apply this new learning to modern ethical lapses?
Gregg: 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, Iím all for it.

"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

"But in all, it builds character for both hubby and I. It taught us to be frugal and when we have more money, it was much more enjoyable spending them. There wasn't credit card debt to tie us down or any loans to give us sleepless nights."

"Now, if there's going to be another recession. I say bring it on. It may be tough but people will come out of it much wiser."

"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

"All the adversity I've had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me.. You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you."


"In order for [my son] to be a responsible adult, he has to be miserable now!"
Red Forman, 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. It's 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

"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, donít you? Own the bad parts as well as the good. Let it make you stronger.
Blake Thorburn: What doesnít kill you makes you stronger?
Maggie: Yes. Exactly.
Blake: I always hated that phrase. No. What doesnít kill you makes you weaker.

Edd: Should we feel worried about Jonny's predicament?
Eddy: Nah! You know what they say, a little childhood trauma builds character.
— The first episode of Ed, Edd n Eddy

Kramer: You know when you hold it in like that you can cause a lot of damage to your bladder. That's what happens to truck drivers. They hold it in all the time. Eventually it starts coming out involuntarily.
Jerry: All right.
Kramer: Jerry, are you aware that adult diapers are a six-hundred-million-dollar-a-year industry?
Jerry: Maybe I should just go anytime I get the urge like you Ö wherever I am. There's too much urinary freedom in this society. I'm proud to hold it in. It builds character.
Seinfeld, "The Parking Garage"

"I needed to understand what true suffering was, so I could become more compassionate to others Ö even to people like Kuvira."

"It was then I received the Victoria Cross for bravery above and beyond the call of duty. Ha-ha! Those were the days! Discipline. Discipline was the thing. Builds character and all that sort of thing."
Colonel Hathi, The Jungle Book

Unfortunately for Eric, his sire felt that struggle best helps focus the young mind and thus breeds the best servants for Set. As a result, the first four months in which Eric has served his new god have been the hardest months of his existence: in the three months following his selection, his master forced him through a series of rigorous tribulations, each designed to remove the blinders placed upon him by the world Set's enemies had created. The first of these tests involved the destruction of Eric's mortal life and the things that made that life comfortable; his master took away his car, his apartment, his job, his finances, and even saw to it that his regular lady friends were offered better-paying, irresistible jobs in different cities. Eric awoke to find everything gone and a clipping from a local newspaper with his own obituary in it. "Nothing of the old life can remain except for you," his masters had written on the clipping, "and it shall be the final test of faith for you to bring yourself up again."
Vampire: The Masquerade ó Children of the Inquisition

"I believe that, as a species, human beings define their reality through misery and suffering."
Agent Smith, The Matrix

Negasonic Teenage Warhead: What are the perks of being an X-Man anyway? The mansion gets blown up every couple years.
Colossus: House blowing up builds character!

"I know what it means to burn
That's how I began to learn"
Masterplan, Spirit Never Die

Cordelia: I mean, they promised me they'd take me to St. Croix, and then they just decide to go to Tuscany. Art and buildings? I was totally beachless for a month and a half. No one has suffered like I have. Of course I think that that kind of adversity builds character. Well, then I thought, I already have a lot of character. Is it possible to have too much character?
Buffy the Vampire Slayer, "When She Was Bad"