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The Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography

Sidney Poitier

Top 10 Best Quotes

“A person doesn't have to change who he is to become better.”

“I don't mean to be like some old guy from the olden days who says, "I walked thirty miles to school every morning, so you kids should too." That's a statement born of envy and resentment. What I'm saying is something quite different. What I'm saying is that by having very little, I had it good. Children need a sense of pulling their own weight, of contributing to the family in some way, and some sense of the family's interdependence. They take pride in knowing that they're contributing. They learn responsibility and discipline through meaningful work. The values developed within a family that operates on those principles then extend to the society at large. By not being quite so indulged and "protected" from reality by overflowing abundance, children see the bonds that connect them to others.”

“I've learned that I must find positive outlets for anger or it will destroy me. There is a certain anger: it reaches such intensity that to express it fully would require homicidal rage--self destructive, destroy the world rage--and its flame burns because the world is so unjust. I have to try to find a way to channel that anger to the positive, and the highest positive is forgiveness.”

“Okay listen, you think I'm so inconsequential? Then try this on for size. All those who see unworthiness when they look at me and are given thereby to denying me value - to you I say, I'm not talking about being AS GOOD as you. I hereby declare myself BETTER than you. ”

“Forgiveness works two ways, in most instances. People have to forgive themselves too. The powerful have to forgive themselves for their behavior. That should be a sacred process.”

“Child psychologists have demonstrated that our minds are actually constructed by these thousands of tiny interactions during the first few years of life. We aren't just what we're taught. It's what we experience during those early years - a smile here, a jarring sound there - that creates the pathways and connections of the brain. We put our kids to fifteen years of quick-cut advertising, passive television watching, and sadistic video games, and we expect to see emerge a new generation of calm, compassionate, and engaged human beings?”

“As I entered this world, I would leave behind the nurturing of my family and my home, but in another sense I would take their protection with me. The lessons I had learned, the feelings of groundedness and belonging that have been woven into my character there, would be my companions on the journey.”

“You don't have to become something you're not to be better than you were.”

“We're all somewhat courageous, and we're all considerably cowardly. We're all imperfect, and life is simply a perpetual, unending struggle against those imperfections.”

“Accept that environment compromises values far more than values do their number on environment.”

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Book Keywords:

race, education, inspirational, motivational, self-esteem, family-values, prejudice, environment, psychology

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