Sometime over the past few decades, the pursuit of being a true “gentleman” fell from the forefront of the typical man’s life. Thankfully, over recent years, man’s pursuit of what it truly means to be a gentlemen has regained momentum. This has been evidenced partly by the interest shown in sites like The Art of Manliness, Gentleman’s Gazette, and yours truly. Although much has changed over the years, there is always wisdom to be found in looking back to gentlemen (and women) of the past. In this article we will present some quotes on gentlemanly living, and how they apply to our lives today.
“The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively.”
– Bob Marley
Many of the gentleman quotes and sayings I came across when researching this article spoke for themselves, this one included. “Money can’t buy everything” is an old adage, and integrity is certainly not a trait that can be purchased. Integrity is something that you develop everyday and through every decision you make, especially in the moments where no one is watching. Will you stay true to your beliefs when there is no one there to catch you otherwise? I encougage you to discover the deep satisfaction that comes with making the important daily decisions that lead to a life of integrity.
Anyone, regardless of wealth or social stature, can positively affect those around them. Even when you are down or don’t have two coins to rub together, I encourage you to try and make the life of someone around you better today. In doing so, you will make the lives of others richer. After all, being rich is only partly about the amount of money in your bank account.
“The final test of a gentleman is his respect for those who can be of no possible service to him.”
-William Lyon Phelps
It’s easy to show respect to someone who can directly benefit you. In fact, it takes no personal effort at all when you anticipate receiving something of value in return. If you are honest, you are really doing something for yourself. It takes much more effort, however, to serve or show respect for someone that can do nothing physically, for you in return. Again, I encourage you to make serving these types of folks part of your everyday life. You will find a deep sense of gratitude for what you do have, and the satisfaction that accompanies looking beyond yourself and your own interests.
“Education begins the gentleman, but reading, good company, and reflection must finish him.”
I enjoyed this piece of wisdom, mainly because it encourages us all to continue our education and self improvement throughout our life. Book learning is certainly valuable. By frequenting sites like this, you are already exhibiting a desire to learn. I encourage you to take it a step further, however. Continuing to strive to be gentlemanly through interacting with others, and reflecting often on your rights and wrongs will keep you growing and effective.
“Courtesy is as much a mark of a gentleman as courage.”
Common courtesy for others is a true mark of the modern gentleman. Courage is always important, but each day we have many more opportunities to show others common courtesy. It’s easy for us to think and make decisions with our own best interests in mind. I encourage you to start thinking about how your decisions and actions impact others as well. Society as a whole will benefit.
“A gentleman is one who puts more into the world than he takes out.”
-George Bernard Shaw
What a wonderful thought. All gentlemen must be constantly aware of the fact that our time is finite… to live with the end in mind. When I come to the end of my time, I truly hope that I have added more to this world than I took of it from others! This is one statement that I will personally reflect on in the coming weeks, for sure.
“A gentleman would be ashamed should his deeds not match his words.”
And with this statement, we circle back to integrity. Do your thoughts, words, and actions all match up? Are you the same when the “lights and cameras are rolling” as when you are on your own in private? Integrity is key in the modern gentleman’s life. We all make mistakes, but I encourage you to “dust yourself off” when you do stumble, and get back on the road of integrity. You are the sum of the individual choices you make everyday. Make choices that increase your integrity! And remember, yesterday is in the past. Everyday we have the chance to learn from the past, but to chart a new course moving forward. That is one of the true gifts of this life.
I hope you found some inspiration in the words above from our past. The pursuit of being a gentleman is a lifelong journey, but is one that is absolutely worth the effort. We encourage you to reflect daily on what it means to be a gentleman in today’s society, to always keep a hunger to learn and grow, and that you find the courage to put things into practice. If, one by one, men all around the world made gentlemanly living a pursuit, the world would truly become a better place for all.
As I researched quotes on gentlemen for this article, I was amazed by the vast amount of wisdom available online. I encourage you to do your own search, and plan to include more in a future article. As always, if you have thoughts or additional nuggets of wisdom, please share them in the comments below.