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Sidney Poitier quotes (showing 1-30 of 62)

“I am the me I choose to be.”
Sidney Poitier
tags: life
“A person doesn't have to change who he is to become better.”
Sidney Poitier, The Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography
“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.”
Sidney Poitier, The Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography
“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.”
Sidney Poitier, The Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography
“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. ”
Sidney Poitier, The Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography
“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.”
Sidney Poitier, The Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography
“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?”
Sidney Poitier, The Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography
“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.”
Sidney Poitier, The Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography
“You don't have to become something you're not to be better than you were.”
Sidney Poitier, The Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography
“So much of life, it seems, is determined by pure randomness.”
Sidney Poitier
“As I've mentioned, a large part of my father's legacy is the lesson he taught his sons. He brought us together and said, 'The measure of a man is how well he provides for his children.”
Sidney Poitier, The Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography
“I"ve learned that I must find positive outlets for anger or it will destroy me.”
Sidney Poitier, The Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography
“Acting isn't a game of "pretend." It's an exercise in being real.”
Sidney Poitier
“Accept that environment compromises values far more than values do their number on environment.”
Sidney Poitier, The Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography
“But perhaps more important, as someone wishing to make a comment or two about contemporary life and values, I don't have to dig through libraries or travel to exotic lands to arrive at a view of our modern situation refracted through the lens of the preindustrial world, or the uncommercialized, unfranchised, perhaps unsanitized-and therefore supposedly more "authentic"-perspective ofthe Third World. Very simply, this is because that "other" world, as alien as if separated by centuries in time, is the one from which I came”
Sidney Poitier, The Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography
“Of all my father's teachings, the most enduring was the one about the true measure of a man. That true measure was how well he provided for his children, and it stuck with me as if it were etched in my brain.”
Sidney Poitier, The Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography
“...you know?”
Sidney Poitier, The Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography
“If the image one holds of one's self contains elements that don't square with reality, one is best advised to let go of them, however difficult that may be.”
Sidney Poitier, The Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography
“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.”
Sidney Poitier, The Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography
“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?”
Sidney Poitier, The Measure of a Man
“Between the American mythology of “Pull yourself up by your bootstraps” and the orthodoxy of entitlements, where’s the enduring commitment for the long haul, the consistent vision of how to weave the less fortunate into a decent and humane society?”
Sidney Poitier, The Measure of a Man
“You don’t have to become something you’re not to be better than you were.”
Sidney Poitier, The Measure of a Man
“John Cassavetes once gave me some advice that has proved invaluable... He said, 'We're good friends, but never, ever do an artistic favor for a friend. Loan friends money, be there for them in every other way, but don't do them any artistic favors, because you've got to have one area of your life where there's no room for compromise.”
Sidney Poitier
“We all have a capacity for love, for kindness, for passion. We also have a capacity for the opposite, but love is infinitely more effective in the world than hate, although they exist as equal opposites.”
Sidney Poitier, Life Beyond Measure
“How we see ourselves, how we see each other,” she said, “should be determined by us and not by people who generally don’t like us; people who pass laws certifying us as less than human. Too many of us see each other as ‘they’ see us,” she continued. “Time for that shit to stop. We’re going to have to decide for ourselves what we are and what we’re not. Create our own image of ourselves. And nurture it and feed it till it can stand on its own.”
Sidney Poitier, The Measure of a Man
“And though she was devout in her faith, she wasn’t married to church doctrine, nor do I think that she actually recognized the fundamental differences between Anglican and Roman Catholic churches, and how the division came about. I don’t think she was aware that the king of England wanted to marry Anne Boleyn, and the Roman Catholic Church would not give him permission to get rid of his wife to do that. So he set up his own Anglican Catholicism. I’m pretty sure she didn’t know because my mother was not that versed a person. In fact, that was history I wouldn’t know much about until many years later. My”
Sidney Poitier, Life Beyond Measure
“They have never found that area within themselves where they can be peaceful with who they are, what they are, and where they are. In”
Sidney Poitier, Life Beyond Measure
“It’s the way of all ancient stories. The young man must go “down” in order to find the right path for going “up.” Call it the “time of ashes.” In some African tribes the young boys must cover their faces with ashes before their initiation into manhood. In certain Nordic cultures the young boys used to sit down in the ashes by the fire in the center of the lodge house until they were ready to take on their adult role. And everybody knows about Cinderella, the girl who had to tend to the cinders and do all the other lowly chores until her true identity became known.”
Sidney Poitier, The Measure of a Man
“But listen, the day one decides to take the reins of one’s own life into one’s own hands,”
Sidney Poitier, The Measure of a Man
“As a chief justice of the United States once said, blacks were three-fifths of a human, and only a full human being should have rights, the implication being that three-fifths of a human being was something fit to function only as a beast of burden. Well, that is a distortion exposing the enemies of logic and reason, and among them are mass hysteria, hate, prejudice, and ignorance. With”
Sidney Poitier, Life Beyond Measure

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