Action Quotes

Thursday, June 30, 2005
By: Matthew Doucette

(Back to all quotes.)


“A barking dog is often more useful than a sleeping lion.” - Washington Irving, adapted from a verse in the Bible

“A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable but more useful than a life spent in doing nothing.” - George Bernard Shaw

“A little knowledge that acts is worth infinitely more than much knowledge that is idle.” - Kahlil Gibran

“A lot of people are waiting for Martin Luther King or Mahatma Gandhi to come back -- but they are gone. We are it. It is up to us. It is up to you.” - Marian Wright Edelman

“A thought which does not result in an action is nothing much, and an action which does not proceed from a thought is nothing at all.” - Georges Bernanos

“Action is eloquence.” - William Shakespeare

“Action is the antidote to despair.” - Joan Baez

“Action is the last resource of those who know not how to dream.” - Oscar Wilde

“Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action.” - Benjamin Disraeli

“Action will remove the doubts that theory cannot solve.” - Tehyi Hsieh

“After all is said and done, a lot more will have been said than done.” - Author Unknown

“All know the way; few actually walk it.” - Bodhidharma

“All problems become smaller if you don't dodge them but confront them.” - William F. Halsey

“All that is necessary for evil to succeed is that good men do nothing.” - Edmund Burke

“An idea not coupled with action will never get any bigger than the brain cell it occupied.” - Arnold Glasow

“As I grow older I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do.” - Andrew Carnegie

“Be content to act, and leave the talking to others.” - Baltasar Gracian

“Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing.” - Thomas Alva Edison

“Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials.” - Lin Yutang

“Between saying and doing many a pair of shoes is worn out.” - Italian Proverb

“Big words seldom accompany good deeds.” - Charlotte Whitton

“Bite off more than you can chew, then chew it.” - Ella Williams

“By the choices and acts of our lives, we create the person that we are and the faces that we wear. By the choices and acts of our lives we give to the world wherein our lives are lived, hoping that our neighbors will find our contributions to be of worth, and hoping that the world will be a little more gracious for our time in it.” - Kenneth Patton (adapted)

“Consciously or unconsciously we all strive to make the kind of a world we like.” - Oliver Wendell Holmes

“Contemplation often makes life miserable. We should act more, think less, and stop watching ourselves live.” - Nicolas de Chamfort

“Creativity comes from trust. Trust your instincts. And never hope more than you work.” - Rita Mae Brown

“Deliberation is a function of the many; action is the function of one.” - Charles de Gaulle, War Memoirs, 1960

“Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.” - John Wesley

“Do not believe that possibly you can escape the reward of your action.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Do not say things. What you are stands over you the while, and thunders, so that I cannot hear what you say to the contrary.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Don't find fault. Find a remedy.” - Henry Ford

“Do-so is more important than "say-so."” - Pete Seeger

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” - Leo Tolstoy

“Example is the school of mankind, and they will learn at no other.” - Edmund Burke

“Faced with the choice between changing one's mind and proving there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof.” - John Kenneth Galbraith

“Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation.” - Robert F. Kennedy

“First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.” - Epictetus

“Good thoughts are no better than good dreams, unless they be executed.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Greatness is not in where we stand, but in what direction we are moving. We must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it -- but sail we must and not drift, nor lie at anchor.” - Oliver Wendell Holmes

“He liked to go from A to B without inventing letters between.” - John McPhee

“He that waits upon fortune is never sure of a dinner.” - Benjamin Franklin

“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

“He who refuses to embrace a unique opportunity loses the prize as surely as if he had tried and failed.” - William James

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” - Annie Dillard

“I am only one, But still I am one. I cannot do everything, But still I can do something; And because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.” - Edward Everett Hale

“I believe half the unhappiness in life comes from people being afraid to go straight at things.” - William J. Lock

“I do not believe in a fate that falls on men however they act; but I do believe in a fate that falls on man unless they act.” - G.K. Chesterton

“I have always thought the actions of men the best interpreters of their thoughts.” - John Locke

“I have one life and one chance to make it count for something . . . I'm free to choose what that something is, and the something I've chosen is my faith. Now, my faith goes beyond theology and religion and requires considerable work and effort. My faith demands -- this is not optional -- my faith demands that I do whatever I can, wherever I am, whenever I can, for as long as I can with whatever I have to try to make a difference.” - Jimmy Carter

“If you don't like the way the world is, you change it. You have an obligation to change it. You just do it one step at a time.” - Marian Wright Edelman

“If your work speaks for itself, don't interrupt.” - Henry J. Kaiser

“Inspirations never go in for long engagements; they demand immediate marriage to action.” - Brendan Francis

“It is not only for what we do that we are held responsible, but also for what we do not do.” - Moliere

“It's important to know that words don't move mountains. Work, exacting work moves mountains.” - Danilo Dolci

“Moral excellence comes about as a result of habit. We become just by doing just acts, temperate by doing temperate acts, brave by doing brave acts.” - Aristotle

“Nature knows no pause in progress and development, and attaches her curse on all inaction.” - Goethe

“Nature takes away any faculty that is not used.” - William R. Inge

“Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.” - Edmund Burke

“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” - James Baldwin

“Nothing diminishes anxiety faster than action.” - Walter Anderson, The Confidence Course, 1997

“One ship sails East, And another West, By the self-same winds that blow, Tis the set of the sails And not the gales, That tells the way we go.” - Ella Wheeler Wilcox

“People may doubt what you say, but they will believe what you do.” - Lewis Cass

“Quite often, as life goes on, when we feel completely secure as we go on our way, we suddenly notice that we are trapped in error, that we have allowed ourselves to be taken in by individuals, by objects, have dreamt up an affinity with them which immediately vanishes before our waking eye; and yet we cannot tear ourselves away, held fast by some power that seems incomprehensible to us. Sometimes, however, we become fully aware and realize that error as well as truth can move and spur us on to action. Now because action is always a decisive factor, something really good can result from an active error, because the effect of all that has been done reaches out into infinity. So although creative action is certainly always best, destroying what has been done is also not without happy consequence.” - Goethe

“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

“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” - Helen Keller

“Skill to do comes of doing.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Small deeds done are better than great deeds planned.” - Peter Marshall

“So if you want to get things done, you positively have to understand at any given point in time what is the most important thing to get done right now and if you're not doing it, you're not making progress at the fastest possible rate.” - Joel Spolsky, Set Your Priorities

“Speech is conveniently located midway between thought and action, where it often substitutes for both.” - John Andrew Holmes

“Talk doesn't cook rice.” - Chinese Proverb

“Talk is cheap.” - unknown

“The ancestor of every action is a thought.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The best way out of a problem is through it.” - Author Unknown

“The cosmos is neither moral or immoral; only people are. He who would move the world must first move himself.” - Edward Ericson

“The first step binds one to the second.” - French Proverb

“The great composer does not set to work because he is inspired, but becomes inspired because he is working. Beethoven, Wagner, Bach and Mozart settled down day after day to the job in hand with as much regularity as an accountant settles down each day to his figures. They didn't waste time waiting for inspiration.” - Ernest Newman

“The most solid comfort one can fall back upon is the thought that the business of one's life is to help in some small way to reduce the sum of ignorance, degradation and misery on the face of this beautiful earth.” - George Eliot

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” - Edmund Burke, (attributed)

“The shortest answer is doing.” - Lord Herbert

“The vision must be followed by the venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps - we must step up the stairs.” - Vance Havner

“The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.” - Albert Einstein

“The world is filled with willing people; some willing to work, the rest willing to let them.” - Robert Frost

“The young do not know enough to be prudent, and therefore they attempt the impossible -- and achieve it, generation after generation.” - Pearl S. Buck

“There are basically two types of people. People who accomplish things, and people who claim to have accomplished things. The first group is less crowded.” - Mark Twain

“There are so many things that we wish we had done yesterday, so few that we feel like doing today.” - Mignon McLaughlin

“There are two kinds of failures: those who thought and never did, and those who did and never thought.” - Laurence J. Peter

“There are two kinds of people who never amount to much those who cannot do what they are told, and those who can do nothing else.” - Cyrus Curtis

“Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation, are people who want crops without ploughing the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning; they want the ocean without the roar of its many waters. The struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, or it may be both. But it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand; it never has and it never will.” - Frederick Douglass

“Thought is the blossom; language the bud; action the fruit behind it.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

“To live for results would be to sentence myself to continuous frustration. My only sure reward is in my actions and not from them.” - Hugh Prather

“To will is to select a goal, determine a course of action that will bring one to that goal, and then hold to that action till the goal is reached. The key is action.” - Michael Hanson

“Trust only movement. Life happens at the level of events, not of words. Trust movement.” - Alfred Adler

“Washing one's hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral.” - Paulo Freire

“We are all inclined to judge ourselves by our ideals; others, by their acts.” - Harold Nicolson

“We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die, because they are never going to be born. The number of people who could be here, in my place, out number the sand grains in the Sahara. If you think about all the different ways in which our genes could be permuted, you and I are quite grotesquely lucky to be here. The number of events that had to happen in order for you to exist, in order for me to exist... we are privileged to be alive and nd we should make the most of our time on this world.” - Richard Dawkins

“We cannot do everything at once, but we can do something at once.” - Calvin Coolidge

“We cannot think first and act afterward. From the moment of birth we are immersed in action, and can only fitfully guide it by taking thought.” - Alfred North Whitehead

“We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily differences we can make which, over time, add up to big differences that we often cannot foresee.” - Marian Wright Edelman

“We should be taught not to wait for inspiration to start a thing. Action always generates inspiration. Inspiration seldom generates action.” - Frank Tibolt

“Well done is better than well said.” - Benjamin Franklin

“When deeds speak, words are nothing.” - African Proverb

“When good people in any country cease their vigilance and struggle, then evil men prevail.” - Pearl S. Buck

“When it comes to getting things done, we need fewer architects and more bricklayers.” - Colleen C. Barrett

“You cannot make yourself feel something you do not feel, but you can make yourself do right in spite of your feelings.” - Pearl S. Buck

“You must do the things you think you cannot do.” - Eleanor Roosevelt

“You really can change the world if you care enough.” - Marian Wright Edelman


About the Author: I am Matthew Doucette of Xona Games, an award-winning indie game studio that I founded with my twin brother. We make intensified arcade-style retro games. Our business, our games, our technology, and we as competitive gamers have won prestigious awards and received worldwide press. Our business has won $180,000 in contests. Our games have ranked from #1 in Canada to #1 in Japan, have become #1 best sellers in multiple countries, have won game contests, and have held 3 of the top 5 rated spots in Japan of all Xbox LIVE indie games. Our game engines have been awarded for technical excellence. And we, the developers, have placed #1 in competitive gaming competitions -- relating to the games we make. Read about our story, our awards, our games, and view our blog.