Soldiers generally win battles; generals get credit for them.
There is an old-fashioned distinction between the novel of character and the novel of incident, which must have cost many a smile to the intending romancer who was keen about his work. It appears to me as little to the point as the equally celebrated distinction between the novel and the romance- to answer as little to any reality. There are bad novels and good novels, as there are bad pictures and good pictures; but that is the only distinction in which I see any meaning, and I can as little imagine speaking of a novel of character as I can imagine speaking of a picture of character. When one says picture, one says of character, when one says novel, one says of incident, and the terms may be transposed. What is character but the determination of incident? What is incident but the illustration of character? What is a picture or a novel that is not of character? What else do we seek in it and find in it?
Surely what a man does when he is taken off his guard is the best evidence for what sort of a man he is? Surely what pops out before the man has time to put on a disguise is the truth? If there are rats in a cellar you are most likely to see them if you go in very suddenly. But the suddenness does not create the rats: it only prevents them from hiding. In the same way the suddenness of the provocation does not make me an ill-tempered man; it only shows me what an ill-tempered man I am. The rats are always there in the cellar, but if you go in shouting and noisily they will have taken cover before you switch on the light.
The circumstances amid which you life determine your reputation; the truth you believe determines your character. Reputation is what you are supposed to be; character is what you are. Reputation is the photograph; character is the face. Reputation comes over one from without; character grows up from within.Reputation is what you have when you come to a new community; character is what you have when you go away. Your reputation is learned in an hour; your character does not come to light for a year. Reputation is made in a moment; character is built in a lifetime. Reputation grows like a mushroom; character grows like the oak. A single newspaper report gives you your reputation; a life of toil gives you your character. Reputation makes you rich or makes you poor; character makes you happy or makes you miserable. Reputation is what men say about you on your tombstone; character is what angels say about you before the throne of God.
Winning doesn't satisfy us -- we need to do it again, and again. The taste of success seems merely to whet the appetite for more. When we lose, the compulsion to seek future success is overpowering; the need to get out on the course the following weekend is irresistible. We cannot quit when we are ahead, after we've won, and we certainly cannot quit when we're behind, after we've lost. We are addicted.