A nod,
a bow,
and a tip of the lid
to the person
who coulda
and shoulda
and did.

~Robert Brault, “A Poem Missing the Word Woulda,” rbrault.blogspot.com

We all know them — the unstructured person whose every action seems aimless and the totally organized person whose every action defeats some purpose.

~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com

It is a sad lament — the happiness you might have found if you had taken the path that still lies right there in front of you.

~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com

Now and then it’s good to list all the things you regularly do for which there was once a good reason.

~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com

The trick to getting things done is to list things to do in doable order.

~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com

When it seems that something can’t be done, start it, and see if the rest of it can be done.

~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com

We can usually recognize the consequence of our actions. It is the consequence of our inaction that gets confused with the inevitable.

~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com

The first requirement in taking a step in the right direction is to take a step in some direction.

~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com

The challenge of every day is to establish some relationship between what you want from life and your Daily Planner.

~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com

Never act until you have clearly answered the question: “What happens if I do nothing?”

~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com

From the personals: “Bundle of good intentions seeks mind reader.”

~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com, 2016

Give me a life of action, and I will accept its sorrow and its tragedy, if I may escape the way of inanition.

~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), My Little Book of Prayer, 1904

Blind action is more dangerous than no action at all.

~David Starr Jordan, “The Social Order,” notes from an unpublished lecture, in The Care and Culture of Men, 1896

I have always thought the actions of men the best interpreters of their thoughts.

~John Locke, 1689

Well done is better than well said.

~Benjamin Franklin, 1737

It may be folly to expect adults to do what they may reasonably be expected to do, and as everyone should know, when everything has been said and done, more will have been said than done.

~Ashley Montagu, Man Observed, 1968

Between saying and doing many a pair of shoes is worn out.

~Italian proverb

The great man is the man who has the courage to act.

~Martin H. Fischer (1879–1962)

Every man is the son of his actions.

~Spanish proverb

The shortest answer is doing the thing.

~”Detached Sentences,” The Prose Epitome; or, Elegant Extracts Abridged, &c, 1792

The shortest answer is doing.

~Jacula Prudentum, George Herbert, 1640

We should be taught not to wait for inspiration to start a thing. Action always generates inspiration. Inspiration seldom generates action.

~Frank Tibolt

Trust only movement. Life happens at the level of events, not of words. Trust movement.

~Alfred Adler

A promise is a cloud; fulfillment is rain.

~Arabian proverb

I will hasten to answer the cry of my soul, lest long unheeded it cease to call. I will speed me about my high endeavor, lest long delayed the fire burn low. I will quicken the day of the manifest, lest long unfilled I lose faith in my dreams.

~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), My Little Book of Prayer, 1904

Small deeds done are better than great deeds planned.

~Peter Marshall

An idea not coupled with action will never get any bigger than the brain cell it occupied.

~Arnold H. Glasow (1905–1999)

Never confuse movement with action.

~Ernest Hemingway

Many Buddhist practitioners recite the Five Remembrances daily. The fifth is, “My actions are my only true belongings. I cannot escape the consequences of my actions. My actions are the ground on which I stand.”

~Thich Nhat Hanh

Action is eloquence.

~William Shakespeare, Coriolanus, c.1607  [III, 2, Volumnia]

Up and at it! Sleepyheads!
Better wear our Shoes than Beds.

~Arthur Guiterman, “Of Industry,” A Poet’s Proverbs, 1924

There’s something real satisfying about working, and having gotten it done.

~Lady Bird Johnson, quoted in Ruth Shick Montgomery, Mrs. L.B.J., 1964

Note to self: finding a cool quote and writing it in your journal is not a substitute for Getting. It. Done.

~Betsy Cañas Garmon, betsygarmon.com

Well-matured and well-disciplined talent is always sure of a market, provided it exerts itself; but it must not cower at home and expect to be sought for. There is a good deal of cant, too, in the whining about the success of forward and impudent men, while men of retiring worth are passed over with neglect. But it happens often that those forward men have that valuable quality of promptness and activity, without which worth is a mere inoperative property.
A barking dog is often more useful than a sleeping lion. Endeavor to make your talents convertible to ready use, prompt for the occasion, and adapted to the ordinary purposes of life; cultivate strength rather than gracefulness; in our country it is the useful, not the ornamental, that is in demand.

~Washington Irving, letter to Pierre Paris Irving (nephew), 1824 December 7th

Action, indeed… is the last resource of those who know not how to dream.

~Oscar Wilde

Think wisely, weighing Word and Fact,
But never Think too much to Act.

~Arthur Guiterman, “Of Timidity,” A Poet’s Proverbs, 1924

Between what you can and what you do lies a sea, and in its depths lies buried the wrecked will.

~Marie Dubsky, Freifrau von Ebner-Eschenbach (1830–1916), translated by Mrs Annis Lee Wister, 1882

Nothing diminishes anxiety faster than action.

~Walter Anderson, The Confidence Course, 1997

The ratio of dreaming to doing varies inversely with the rate of accomplishment.

~Dr. Idel Dreimer, lumpenbangenpiano.com

Remember, people will judge you by your actions, not your intentions. You may have a heart of gold — but so does a hard-boiled egg.

~Author unknown, 1950s

Words are sometimes efficacious, but the best sermons have been preached by Example.

~”Poor Richard Junior’s Philosophy,” The Saturday Evening Post, 1909, George Horace Lorimer, editor

There may be no very close relationship between fate and furniture, yet it is doubtful if any of the world’s great problems have been solved by men sitting in easy rocking-chairs.

~”Poor Richard Junior’s Philosophy,” The Saturday Evening Post, 1903, George Horace Lorimer, editor

If ifs were gifts, every day would be Christmas.

~Charles Barkley

And is then example nothing? It is everything. Example is the school of mankind, and they will learn at no other.

~Edmund Burke, 1796

The greatest difficulty in attempting to remove a difficulty, is in thinking too much about the difficulty of removing the difficulty.

~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Sparks from the Philosopher’s Stone, 1882

Not all my day can I spend in listening, for I, too, must evolve, ere the night comes on.

~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), My Little Book of Prayer, 1904

The first step binds one to the second.

~French proverb

Talk doesn’t cook rice.

~Chinese proverb

One Hour of Gallant Striving up the Hill
Is worth a Hundred Years of Standing Still.

~Arthur Guiterman, “Of Vigor,” A Poet’s Proverbs, 1924

We believe actions speak louder than tweets.

~KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, December 2012, www.klm.com

When your work speaks for itself, don’t interrupt.

~Henry J. Kaiser

Action is the antidote to despair. Almost any kind of action, especially that which is intelligently planned, is better than spending one’s days in a dither.

~Cid Ricketts Sumner, “The spice of life,” A View from the Hill, 1957

I do not believe in a fate that falls on men however they act; but I do believe in a fate that falls on them unless they act.

~G.K. Chesterton, 1922

Doing things is not the same as getting things done.

~Jared Silver, @JaredSilver (Twitter), jaredasilver.com
[C]reative spirits always anticipate the course of events. They do not wait for the dawn of a new era. They resolutely begin the new era at the moment when they see that the old era is ended.

~Samuel McChord Crothers, “On the Evening of the New Day,” The Atlantic Monthly, January 1919

It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.

~J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, 1999  [Albus Dumbledore]

Fitzpatrick… liked to go from A to B without inventing letters in between.

~John McPhee, The Deltoid Pumpkin Seed, 1973

A man can fool you with his mind, and his Soul and his Heart, but if you follow his feet you will pretty near find out where he is going.

~Will Rogers (1879–1935)

Let me do Something; this I chiefly ask;
For doing Nothing is the Harder Task.

~Arthur Guiterman, “Of Achievement,” A Poet’s Proverbs, 1924

He was a man of action. He knew how to go from A to B without inventing letters between them and realised that the best way out of a problem was to crash through it.

~Donald Edward Farrell, of Jim Maher, 2008 

The surest way to escape anxiety and defeat despair is action. Do, don’t dwell.

~Michael Josephson, whatwillmatter.com

A man never catches up with his good intentions for to-morrow.

~”Poor Richard Junior’s Philosophy,” The Saturday Evening Post, 1903, George Horace Lorimer, editor

Doing nothing is harmless, but being busy doing nothing is not.

~Eric Hoffer, Reflections on the Human Condition, 1973

The excitement of action conquers fear. But suspense is horrible.

~”A Night Never To Be Forgotten,” in Putnam’s Monthly, November 1855

Practical prayer is harder on the soles of your shoes than on the knees of your trousers.

~Austin O’Malley, Keystones of Thought, 1914

It is a golden rule that one should never judge men by their opinions, but rather by what these opinions lead them to be.

~Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742–1799), translated by Norman Alliston, 1908

Don’t find fault; find a remedy.

~Henry Ford

He who has made a thousand things and he who has made none, both feel the same desire: to make something.

~Antonio Porchia, Voces, 1943, translated from Spanish by W.S. Merwin

Nature takes away any faculty that is not used.

~William Ralph Inge

What ought to have been done, and what shall be done, often stifle doing between them.

~Augustus William Hare and Julius Charles Hare, Guesses at Truth, by Two Brothers, 1827

The problem is to be faced and the solution to be shirked.

~Bernard Shaw, 1910

They are little to be feared whose tongues are their swords.


If I set for myself a task, be it so trifling, I shall see it through. How else shall I have confidence in myself to do important things?

~George S. Clason, Gold Ahead, 1937

He that waits upon Fortune, is never sure of a Dinner.

~Benjamin Franklin

Our Yankee trade… saves itself by its activity… in skating over thin ice, our safety is in our speed.

~Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Prudence”

Do not be wise in words — be wise in deeds.

~Jewish proverb

The secret of getting ahead is getting started.

~Author unknown

Try, above all things to be still and to contain yourself. You always want to rush into action. Realise that a certain kind of stillness is the most perfect form of action, like a seed can wait. One’s action ought to come out of an achieved stillness: not be a mere rushing on.

~D.H. Lawrence, 1924

Action is taking the first step. Action is climbing the hill. Action joined with desire, harmonious intent, and undoubting yesfulness is invincible. Hallelujah!

~Terri Guillemets

When deeds speak, words are nothing.

~African proverb

Action! — that one stupendous word I will translate into my soul. My days shall be peopled. There shall be runnings to and fro, and chatterings. There shall be pistons sounding, and the whirr of wheels. There shall be busy days’ endings, with reckonings and summings-up.

~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), “A Soul’s Faring: LXIII,” A Soul’s Faring, 1921

Action battles doubt.

~Terri Guillemets, “The sword of doing,” 2007

We can’t do everything at once; but we can do something at once, can we not?

~Asenath Carver Coolidge, The Modern Blessing Fire, 1902

I believe half the unhappiness in life comes from people being afraid to go straight at things.

~William J. Locke, Simon the Jester, 1910

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