We First Make Our Habits, Then Our Habits Make Us – Quote On Habits By John Dryden

Quote On Habits:

And for today’s quote we have the words of a 17th-century poet, John Dryden

“We First Make Our Habits, Then Our Habits Make Us”

– John Dryden

Who are we? What defines us?

– There is one definition we are aware of – what we think about ourselves.

– And there is the other which is about what we think of others’ perception about us.

– And there is a third one – what others actually think about us.

We all know that actions speak louder than words. 90% of the time, people don’t even listen to what we say. The focus is merely on what we do and how closely aligned we are with our words.

Well, as Vivekananda says – Any fool can be great someday. It takes a man of character to maintain his greatness through the activities he does every day.

I think we strongly undervalue what we do on a daily basis – it may be the discipline, the regular workout we do, the books we read, the way we talk to people, our voice, our cultures and traditions and so on – each one of which very strongly forms the very definition of who we are. Strangely true isn’t it – appearances are misleading!

We never get to know what a person truly is, all we get to know is a shadow – an apparition which they choose to show to the people and the way they decide to do that. If you really want to know a person, know him through his habits, his thoughts and the way he talks to people from whom there is no return. Most times it is honestly difficult to differentiate between character and reputation. Very often we are made to believe that reputation and character are one and the same, a person with good reputation must also be a person with good character.

No better lie was told I guess! I mean how can you know someone just because you have read about them in a newspaper or seen them in an interview. The real person is the one who is a little more than that. It is easy to appear great in an interview. It takes more than that to be a person who you are proud of.

Well! No matter what we say, we all are going to be careful about our reputation. Maybe cos it means a big deal to us and affects our social lives. We do pretend to a certain extent about our social lives and that takes care of reputation. But what we do, how we think, what we feel are based on those little things we do which don’t mean a lot in life but mean everything!

It is pretty easy to ignore the smaller things – probably cos no one is watching right?! The beauty is that you don’t have to answer about it to anyone else but yourself and that is going to make all the difference. If you want something out of life, then I guess John Dryden has a way, let those habits define you, you just take care of what habits you want to live with and what standards you want to live by. That is going to make all the difference!

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  1. Hi Vinay! Such a powerful quote by John Dryden. Habit brings a constant evolution within us and it so much revolves around our ethics and character. One such habit in my case is keeping self fit… they say it takes 21 days of regular activity and it converts into a habit. So I am trying that one on work-out. Let’s see how far will I stick with it.

    • Thank you Tara :).. John Dryden, poet and his way with the words is simply beautiful.. I think there are two kinds of quotes – the ones which romanticise life, fill you with optimism and push you to action. The other kind sits you through makes you reflect and look inside and realize that there is so much more to us than we are showing to the world.

      The 21 days bit is a very interesting one. I had read about it somewhere, but I can’t seem to put a finger on it. And it really works, purs you into action. I had read elsewhere that it takes 6 months for a result to kick in and become a part of our neural network. Of the two I would really like to believe the 21 days bit, it is faster and seems more result oriented..

  2. To be truthful this is the first time I came accross this quote and my my such a thoughtful quote ! How come you come with such meaningful lines every single time in every blogpost? !!! How how how?! I love it how you explain on the perspective part of a human being. The best part is you sort out every single sentence and everything seems crystal clear . Loved the quote for today !

    • He he, I have always loved quotes Najm, growing up I used to maintain a book where I used to write down every quote I loved and when I open it today I realize that it has become quite a big one. I guess I am only digitizing it now with a few additional thoughts plus some neat images :)..

      Thanks so much for such kind words Najm, your words really inspire me to write more and more.. And I really love doing it :).. And to see such wonderful comments is a delight to say the least 🙂

  3. It’s a powerful quote by Dryden and nothing can be truer than this! It’s indeed difficult to know a person to the core. Often, I think, we even fail to understand our own self…let alone other persons… Nice post, Vinay, as always… 🙂

    • True Maniparana.. Absolutely spot on, I never feel that I really understand myself. Most times after an event I have questioned myself – “Is it really me? I mean I really thought I would behave differently”

      But I guess that is in retrospect, when I had time to think. Probably what comes out in the moment is the real truth or the lifetime of experiences which we have been through which brings out that action.. Kinda puzzled word don’t you think? 🙂

  4. Very inspiring. It was said in ‘To kill a mockingbird’ about the Dad, that he was a man who was exactly in private what he was in public. I think that’s how the author was defining a truly non hypocritical person, who has ingrained goodness into his bloodstream as habit.

    • Thank you Sweety :).. I haven’t had an opportunity to read that book or even watch that movie yet although it has been on my bucket list from such a long time :).. Goodness into the bloodstream as a habit. I couldn’t have imagined it any way better. Thank you 🙂