Act—act in the living present.
—Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–82) American Poet, Educator, Academic
If you want a thing done, go. If not, send. The shortest answer is doing.
How long will they kill our prophets while we stand aside and look?
—Bob Marley (1945–81) Jamaican Musician, Singer, Songwriter
One of the reasons why so few of us ever act, instead of react, is because we are continually stifling our deepest impulses.
—Henry Miller (1891–1980) American Novelist
Sitting quietly, doing nothing, spring comes and the grass grows by itself.
—Zen Proverb Japanese School of Mahayana Buddhism
If deeds are wanting, all words appear mere vanity and emptiness.
Words are mere bubbles of water, but deeds are drops of gold.
He that is overcautious will accomplish but very little.
—Friedrich Schiller (1759–1805) German Poet, Dramatist
The way to get ahead is to start now. If you start now, you will know a lot next year that you don’t know now and that you would not have known next year if you had waited.
—William Feather (1889–1981) American Publisher, Author
Psychology is action, not thinking about oneself.
—Albert Camus (1913–60) Algerian-born French Philosopher, Dramatist, Essayist, Novelist, Author
To do nothing at all is the most difficult thing in the world, the most difficult and the most intellectual.
—Oscar Wilde (1854–1900) Irish Poet, Playwright
If you can talk brilliantly about a problem, it can create the consoling illusion that it has been mastered.
—Stanley Kubrick (1928–99) American Film Director, Writer, Film Producer, Photographer
Men are alike in their promises. It is only in their deeds that they differ.
—Moliere (1622–73) French Playwright
Solve it. Solve it quickly, solve it right or wrong. If you solve it wrong, it will come back and slap you in the face, and then you can solve it right. Lying dead in the water and doing nothing is a comfortable alternative because it is without risk, but it is an absolutely fatal way to manage a business.
—Thomas J. Watson, Sr. (1874–1956) American Business Executive
Just as there is no loss of basic energy in the universe, so no thought or action is without its effects, present or ultimate, seen or unseen, felt or unfelt.
—Norman Cousins (1915–90) American Journalist, Author, Academic, Activist
Action, not words, are the true criterion of the attachment of friends.
—George Washington (1732–99) American Head of State, Military Leader
Take God for your spouse and friend and walk with him continually, and you will not sin and will learn to love, and the things you must do will work out prosperously for you.
—John of the Cross (1542–1591) Spanish Roman Catholic Mystic
“Mean to” don’t pick no cotton.
Action is eloquence.
—William Shakespeare (1564–1616) British Playwright
The end of man is action.
—Thomas Carlyle (1795–1881) Scottish Historian, Essayist
There are risks and costs to a program of action. But they are far less than the long-range risks and costs of comfortable inaction.
—John F. Kennedy (1917–63) American Head of State, Journalist
Delay not to seize the hour.
—Aeschylus (525–456 BCE) Greek Poet
That is the principal thing: not to remain with the dream, with the intention, with the being in the mood, but always forcibly to convert it into all things.
—Rainer Maria Rilke (1875–1926) Austrian Poet
The best way to prepare for life is to begin to live.
—Elbert Hubbard (1856–1915) American Writer, Publisher, Artist, Philosopher
Our chief defect is that we are more given to talking about things than to doing them.
—Jawaharlal Nehru (1889–1964) Indian Head of State
To attain happiness in another world we need only to believe something, while to secure it in this world we must needs do something.
—Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860–1935) American Feminist, Writer
To be always intending to live a new life, but never to find time to set about it; this is as if a man should put off eating and drinking and sleeping from one day and night to another, till he is starved and destroyed.
Beginnings are apt to be shadowy and so it is the beginnings of the great mother life, the sea.
—Rachel Carson (1907–64) American Naturalist, Science Writer
I think that, as life is action and passion, it is required of a man that he should share the passion and action of his time at peril of being judged not to have lived.
—Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (1841–1935) American Jurist, Author
The keen spirit seizes the prompt occasion; makes the thought start into instant action, and at once plans and performs, resolves, and executes!
Every man feels instinctively that all the beautiful sentiments in the world weigh less than a single lovely action.
—James Russell Lowell (1819–91) American Poet, Critic
The beginning is half of every action.
Inspirations never go in for long engagements; they demand immediate marriage to action.
—Brendan Behan (1923–64) Irish Poet, Novelist, Playwright
I myself must mix with action lest I wither by despair.
—Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809–92) British Poet
The great end of life is not knowledge, but action.
—Thomas Henry Huxley (1825–95) English Biologist
The wise does at once what the fool does at last.
—Baltasar Gracian (1601–58) Spanish Scholar, Prose Writer
Doing nothing is the most tiresome job in the world because you cannot quit and rest.
With mere good intentions hell is Proverbially paved.
—William James (1842–1910) American Philosopher, Psychologist, Physician
To sit back hoping that someday, some way, someone will make things right is to go on feeding the crocodile, hoping he will eat you last—but eat you he will.
—Ronald Reagan (1911–2004) American Head of State
Nothing else so destroys the power to stand alone as the habit of leaning upon others. If you lean, you will never be strong or original. Stand alone or bury your ambition to be somebody in the world.
—Orison Swett Marden (1850–1924) American New Thought Writer, Physician, Entrepreneur
The man who removes a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.
Shun idleness. It is a rust that attaches itself to the most brilliant metals.
—Voltaire (1694–1778) French Philosopher, Author
Above all, try something.
—Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882–1945) American Head of State, Lawyer
The biggest sin is sitting on your ass.
—Florynce Kennedy (1916–2000) American Lawyer, Civil Rights Leader, Feminist, Activist
It is following the line of least resistance that makes men and rivers crooked.
Delay always breeds danger, and to protract a great design is often to ruin it.
—Miguel de Cervantes (1547–1616) Spanish Novelist
Things don’t turn up in this world until somebody turns them up.
—James A. Garfield (1831–81) American Head of State, Lawyer, Educator
Man who stand on hill with mouth open will wait long time for roast duck to drop in.
—Confucius (551–479 BCE) Chinese Philosopher
Words without actions are the assassins of idealism.
—Herbert Hoover (1874–1964) 31st American President
In putting off what one has to do, one runs the risk of never being able to do it.
—Charles Baudelaire (1821–67) French Poet, Art Critic, Essayist, Translator