What the Puritans gave the world was not thought, but action.
—Wendell Phillips (1811–84) American Abolitionist, Lawyer, Orator
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.
You cannot dream yourself into a character; you must hammer and forge yourself one.
—James Anthony Froude (1818–94) British Historian, Novelist, Biographer, Editor
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
Unless a capacity for thinking be accompanied by a capacity for action, a superior mind exists in torture.
—Benedetto Croce (1866–1952) Italian Philosopher, Literary Critic
The first step is always the hardest.
The individual activity of one man with backbone will do more than a thousand men with a mere wishbone.
—William J. H. Boetcker (1873–1962) American Presbyterian Minister
Putting off an easy thing makes it hard. Putting off a hard thing makes it impossible.
—George C. Lorimer (1838–1904) American Baptist Clergyman
He that is overcautious will accomplish but very little.
—Friedrich Schiller (1759–1805) German Poet, Dramatist
Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action.
—Benjamin Disraeli (1804–81) British Head of State
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
The biggest sin is sitting on your ass.
—Florynce Kennedy (1916–2000) American Lawyer, Civil Rights Leader, Feminist, Activist
Eighty percent of success is showing up.
—Woody Allen (b.1935) American Film Actor, Director
The great end of life is not knowledge, but action.
—Thomas Henry Huxley (1825–95) English Biologist
Shun idleness. It is a rust that attaches itself to the most brilliant metals.
—Voltaire (1694–1778) French Philosopher, Author
The end of man is action.
—Thomas Carlyle (1795–1881) Scottish Historian, Essayist
Well done is better than well said.
—Benjamin Franklin (1706–90) American Political Leader, Inventor, Diplomat
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
If we really want to live, we’d better start at once to try.
—W. H. Auden (1907–73) British-born American Poet, Dramatist
Words gain credibility by deed.
—Terence (c.195–159 BCE) Roman Comic Dramatist
Men are alike in their promises. It is only in their deeds that they differ.
—Moliere (1622–73) French Playwright
To think is easy. To act is difficult. To act as one thinks is the most difficult of all.
—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832) German Poet
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
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
Do noble things, do not dream them all day long.
—Charles Kingsley (1819–75) English Clergyman, Academic, Historian, Novelist
Many are called but few get up.
—Oliver Herford (1863–1935) American Writer, Artist, Illustrator
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
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
The most important thing about getting somewhere is starting right where we are.
—Bruce Fairchild Barton (1886–1967) American Author, Advertising Executive, Politician
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
One’s feelings waste themselves in words; they ought all to be distilled into action … which bring results.
—Florence Nightingale (1820–1910) English Nurse
Procrastination is opportunity’s natural assassin.
—Victor Kiam (1926–2001) American Entrepreneur
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
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
The best way to prepare for life is to begin to live.
—Elbert Hubbard (1856–1915) American Writer, Publisher, Artist, Philosopher
How long will they kill our prophets while we stand aside and look?
—Bob Marley (1945–81) Jamaican Musician, Singer, Songwriter
What you theoretically know, vividly realize.
—Francis Thompson (1859–1907) English Poet, Ascetic
An acre of performance is worth the whole world of promise.
—Jeremiah Brown Howell
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
Ideas are one thing, and what happens is another.
—John Cage (1912–92) American Composer, Philosopher, Poet, Artist
To avoid an occasion for our virtues is a worse degree of failure than to push forward pluckily and make a fall.
—Robert Louis Stevenson (1850–94) Scottish Novelist
Action, not words, are the true criterion of the attachment of friends.
—George Washington (1732–99) American Head of State, Military Leader
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