Watch Your Thoughts, They Become Words

Watch your thoughts, they become words.
Watch your words, they become actions.
Watch your actions, they become habits.
Watch your habits, they become your character.
Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.

This quote was presumably written by a man named Frank Outlaw (source has not been confirmed), while others attribute it to Mahatma Gandhi. Nevertheless, the quote is still good and makes one think carefully about our thoughts, words, and actions that contribute to our character and determine our destiny. A great deal of Christian wisdom is loaded in this quote.

As John Couretas observed when reading this quote: “Evocative, in a way, of patristic teaching on watchfulness.”

Hesychios the Priest (8th/9th cent.?)

* ‘Watchfulness is a way embracing every virtue, every commandment. It is the heart’s stillness and, when free from mental images, it is the guarding of the intellect.’ (On Watchfulness and Holiness, 3; in the Philokalia, vol. i., pp. 162, 163.)

* ‘One type of watchfulness consists in closely scrutinizing every mental image or provocation; for only by means of a mental image can Satan fabricate an evil thought and insinuate this into the intellect in order to lead it astray. A second type of watchfulness consists in freeing the heart from all thoughts, keeping it profoundly silent and still, and in praying. A third type consists in continually and humbly calling upon the Lord Jesus Christ for help. A fourth type is always to have the thought of death in one’s mind. These types of watchfulness, my child, act like doorkeepers and bar entry to evil thoughts.’ (ibid., 14-18; pp. 164, 165.)

* ‘Guard your mind and you will not be harassed by temptations. But if you fail to guard it, accept patiently whatever trial comes.’ (ibid., 54; p. 172.)

For a good source of patristic quotations, see:


2 thoughts on “Watch Your Thoughts, They Become Words”

  1. …very true. This reminds me of a Greek proverb my mother used to tell me when I was a child- “Your character is your destiny”, or “o charactiras sou einai i mira sou”. Excellent Christian teaching!


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