Quotes about Action

Most popular action quotes

Sow an act, and you reap a habit. Sow a habit, and you reap a character. Sow a character, and you reap a destiny.

character fate habit

Nothing will work unless you do.


A slender acquaintance with the world must convince every man that actions, not words, are the true criterion of the attachment of friends.


What you do may not seem important, but it is very important that you do it.
However many holy words you read, how many you speak, what good will they do you if you do not act upon them?


My view is that to sit back and let fate play its hand out and never influence it is not the way man was meant to operate.

fate self-determination

My actions are my only true belongings.


We are what we repeatedly do.


To do is to be.
To be is to do.
Action is eloquence.


Action is character.
The way to do is to be.
He who hesitates is last.
— The Wit and Wisdom of Mae West edited by Joseph Weintraub


Go and wake up your luck.


Wishes won't wash dishes.
Virtue consists in action.
What isn't tried won't work.


Trust in God and do something.
Fine words butter no parsnips.

English proverbs proverbs

Action is thought made visible.
Talk without effort is nothing.
Nothing is achieved in a dream.
— African proverb

African proverbs proverbs

Never mistake motion for action.
Goals are dreams with deadlines.

dreams goals

Action is only coarsened thought.
Action is the antidote to despair.
Few wishes come true by themselves.
Well done is better than well said.
God helps those who help themselves.
Fame is the perfume of heroic deeds.

fame proverbs

Don't Just Do Something, Stand There!


All glory comes from daring to begin.


Every act alters the soul of the doer.
Don't just do something – Stand there!
Doing is a quantum leap from imagining.
Action is the proper fruit of knowledge.

knowledge proverbs

Conduct is more convincing than language.
The ancestor of every action is a thought.


There is only one proof of ability—action.


Action is the real measure of intelligence.


If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door.


An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory.
Not what I have but what I do is my kingdom.
The most effective way to do it, is to do it.
If your ship doesn't come in, swim out to it!
A body makes his own luck, be it good or bad.
Action is the foundational key to all success.


One must act in painting as in life, directly.


He who desires, but acts not, breeds pestilence.
The future depends on what we do in the present.

future motivational today

What we do is never as important as how we do it.
Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul.


You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take.


Everything comes to he who hustles while he waits.
The Essence of Knowledge is, having it, to use it.


The great end of life is not knowledge but action.
A man's action is only a picture-book of his creed.
Love me or hate me, but spare me your indifference.

apathy morals

Apathy is the glove into which evil slips its hand.

apathy morals

Teachers open doors, but you must enter by yourself.

proverbs Zen sayings

If you wait, all that happens is that you get older.
We don't know who we are until we see what we can do.

know yourself

No sooner said than done - so acts your man of worth.
Let him that would move the world, first move himself.

change the world

Each act is an island in time, to be judged on its own.
An action is the perfection and publication of thought.
Acting without thinking is like shooting without aiming.
It is difficult to keep quiet if you have nothing to do.
You can't build a reputation on what you are going to do.
Let they that would move the world first move themselves.

change the world

The smallest deed is greater than the grandest intention.

deeds intention

The best way to make your dreams come true is to wake up.

dreams success

There is nothing harder than the softness of indifference.

apathy morals

Action is indeed the sole medium of expression for ethics.
To know what is right and not do it is the worst cowardice.

right and wrong

Action in the face of uncertainty is essential to creation.


He who does not prevent a crime when he can, encourages it.

crime morals

There is a limit at which forbearance ceases to be a virtue.

patience tolerance virtue

Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.
Our acts make or mar us; we are the children of our own deeds.
Genius is the ability to put into effect what is on your mind.


True strength is the flower of Wisdom, but its seed is action.

Strength wisdom

Wish for nothing so much that you forget to make it come true.


Swing hard, in case they throw the ball where you're swinging.

funny luck

Let him who would enjoy a good future waste none of his present.

time wasting time

Two hands working can do more than a thousand clasped in prayer.


Thought is sad without action, and action is sad without thought.
Whoever wants to reach a distant goal must take many small steps.

hard work

All of our actions have in their doing the seed of their undoing.
The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.
You can preach a better sermon with your life than with your lips.


Fools live to regret their words, wise men to regret their silence.

silence wisdom

Moral action is the meeting-place between the human and the divine.
Amazing how many hours slip by while planning how to use your time!

planning time

Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.


Faith is about doing. You are how you act, not just how you believe.


Ask God's blessing on your work, but don't ask him to do it for you.
You can't cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water.
Faced with what is right, to leave it undone shows a lack of courage.
Our actions must clothe us with an immortality loathsome or glorious.
You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.

responsibility wisdom

Let me be clear: "take your time" isn't the same as "just let it be."


If you are not a part of the solution, you are a part of the problem.
Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.
The winds of grace are always blowing, but you have to raise the sail.
God gives every bird his worm, but he does not throw it into the nest.
— Swedish proverb

hard work proverbs Swedish proverbs

There is a time to let things happen and a time to make things happen.


How a person masters his fate is more important than what his fate is.


Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
— James 1:22


It is the mark of a good action that it appears inevitable in retrospect.
You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don't try.


Action springs not from thought, but from a readiness for responsibility.


When the snake is in the house, one need not discuss the matter of length.
— African proverb

African proverbs proverbs

Just as iron rusts from disuse, even so does inaction spoil the intellect.
A mistake proves that someone stopped talking long enough to do something.


You will never know how sharp a sword is unless it's drawn from its sheath.
Success is a ladder that cannot be climbed with your hands in your pockets.
— American proverb

American proverbs proverbs success

The amount of good luck coming your way depends on your willingness to act.


Your food is close to your stomach, but you must put it in your mouth first.
— African proverb

African proverbs proverbs

Life is a great big canvas, and you should throw all the paint on it you can.


Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there.
I prayed for twenty years but received no answer until I prayed with my legs.
Action may not always be happiness, but there is no happiness without action.


Talkers are usually more articulate than doers, since talk is their specialty.


Every action of your life touches on some chord that will vibrate in eternity.
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

good and evil

Action is the language of the body and should harmonize with the spirit within.

authenticity be yourself

I have a very strong feeling that the opposite of love is not hate—it's apathy.

apathy morals

In our era, the road to holiness necessarily passes through the world of action.
No one is more liable to make mistakes than the man who acts only on reflection.
Many a man with no family tree has succeeded because he branched out for himself.
Never retract, never explain, never apologize; get things done and let them howl.

how to live life motivational

As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do.


Few men of action have been able to make a graceful exit at the appropriate time.


I have always thought the actions of men the best interpreters of their thoughts.
Often the hands will solve a mystery that the intellect has struggled with in vain.


We have too many high sounding words, and too few actions that correspond with them.
Be careful how you live your life, it is the only Gospel many people will ever read.


The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone.

communication tears

We know what a person thinks not when he tells us what he thinks, but by his actions.


He who waits for a roast duck to fly into his mouth must wait a very, very long time.
— Chinese proverb

Chinese proverbs proverbs

A good action is never lost; it is a treasure laid up and guarded for the doer's need.
Our chief defect is that we are more given to talking about things than to doing them.

human nature

A little knowledge that acts is worth infinitely more than much knowledge that is idle.


Trust only movement. Life happens at the level of events, not of words. Trust movement.
It is better to be making the news than taking it; to be an actor rather than a critic.
It is easy to sit up and take notice. What is difficult is getting up and taking action.
Action itself, so long as I am convinced that it is right action, gives me satisfaction.
The man who insists upon seeing with perfect clearness before he decides, never decides.

decision-making management

If you would convince a man that he does wrong, do right. Men will believe what they see.


More good things in life are lost by indifference than ever were lost by active hostility.

apathy morals

There is a close correlation between getting up in the morning and getting up in the world.

laziness success

The world's great men have not commonly been great scholars, nor its great scholars great men.


We'd never get anything fixed to suit us if we waited for things to suit us before we started.
A man would do nothing if he waited until he could do it so well that no one could find fault.


Men will lie on their backs, talking about the fall of man, and never make an effort to get up.
Action is at bottom a swinging and flailing of the arms to regain one's balance and keep afloat.
Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
— The Bible: Matthew 7:7

asking biblical seeking

Each generation must, out of relative obscurity, discover its mission, fulfill it, or betray it.


You're wishin' too much, baby. You gotta stop wearing your wishbone where your backbone oughtta be.


The self is not something ready-made, but something in continuous formation through choice of action.

the self

You must get involved to have an impact. No one is impressed with the won-lost record of the referee.
Good ideas are not adopted automatically. They must be driven into practice with courageous impatience.


It's better to be boldly decisive and risk being wrong than to agonize at length and be right too late.

be bold decision-making hesitation risk-taking

Always behave like a duck—keep calm and unruffled on the surface, but paddle like the devil underneath.

career hard work

The world can only be grasped by action, not by contemplation.  The hand is more important than the eye.
In the arena of human life the honors and rewards fall to those who show their good qualities in action.
A man who has to be convinced to act before he acts is not a man of action. You must act as you breathe.
Remember, nothing that's good works by itself just to please you. You've got to make the damn thing work.


The activist is not the man who says the river is dirty. The activist is the man who cleans up the river.

Activism environment

Do what you think is right. Think about what you think is right, and once you've thought about it then do it!

right and wrong

Have you considered that if you "don't make waves," nobody, including yourself, will know that you are alive?
Life is made up of constant calls to action, and we seldom have time for more than hastily contrived answers.

answers life

While one person hesitates because he feels inferior, the other is busy making mistakes and becoming superior.

competition effort mistakes

He who does something at the head of one Regiment, will eclipse him who does nothing at the head of a hundred.

bravery war

Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.

management thinking

We must ask questions and find answers that will help us to avoid dissolving into the merciless maw of history.
Violence of language leads to violence of action. Angry men seldom fight if their tongues do not lead the fray.


The best preparation for work is not thinking about work, talking about work, or studying for work: it is work.

hard work

Jumping at several small opportunities may get us there more quickly than waiting for one big one to come along.


Just as appetite comes by eating, so work brings inspiration, if inspiration is not discernible at the beginning.

inspiration work

From thinking proceeds speaking; thence to acting is often but a single step. But how irrevocable and tremendous!
People judge you by your actions, not your intentions. You may have a heart of gold, but so has a hard-boiled egg.
— Good Reading magazine
Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.
However many holy words you read, however many you speak, what good will they do you if you do not act on upon them?
If you want to achieve things in life, you've just got to do them, and if you're talented and smart, you'll succeed.


Every man feels instinctively that all the beautiful sentiments in the world weigh less than a single lovely action.
You cannot make yourself feel something you do not feel, but you can make yourself do right in spite of your feelings.
It is a perplexing and unpleasant truth that when men have something worth fighting for, they do not feel like fighting.

apathy morals

You don't learn to hold your own in the world by standing on guard, but by attacking, and getting well hammered yourself.


If we should be blessed by some great reward, such as fame or fortune, it's the fruit of a seed planted by us in the past.


If to do were as easy as to know what were good to do, chapels had been churches, and poor men's cottages princes' palaces.
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.


Life is always walking up to us and saying, "Come on in, the living's fine," and what do we do? Back off and take its picture.


If you wait for inspiration or that thing to hit you, you're dead.  Action breeds inspiration more than inspiration breeds action.


You can't always sit around and wait for inspiration to strike.  Amateurs wait for inspiration. The real pros get up and go to work.

inspiration motivational work

An artist is a man of action, whether he creates a personality, invents an expedient, or finds the issue of a complicated situation.


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.
Thought and theory must precede all action that moves to salutary purposes. Yet action is nobler in itself than either thought or theory.
Dreams pass into the reality of action. From the action stems the dream again; and this interdependence produces the highest form of living.


Die when I may, I want it said by those who knew me best that I always plucked a thistle and planted a flower where I thought a flower would grow.
Nature gave men two ends—one to sit on and one to think with. Ever since then man's success or failure has been dependent on the one he used most.
A person may cause evil to others not only by his actions but by his inaction, and in either case he is justly accountable to them for the injury.

accountability evil inaction morals

People can be divided into two classes: those who go ahead and do something and those who sit still and inquire, "Why wasn't it done the other way?"

human nature

Words and thoughts concerning compassionate action that are not put into practice are like beautiful flowers that are colorful but have no fragrance.
Is it really so difficult to tell a good action from a bad one?  I think one usually knows right away or a moment afterward, in a horrid flash of regret.

Why don't you stop
pursuing things,
and rushing round
and doing things?
Just think of all
the things that you
would suddenly
find time to do!
I have long since come to believe that people never mean half of what they say, and that it is best to disregard their talk and judge only their actions.
The ninety and nine are with dreams, content but the hope of the world made new, is the hundredth man who is grimly bent on making those dreams come true.


The world is divided into people who do things - and people who get the credit. Try, if you can, to belong to the first class. There's far less competition.
Some people say to me, "But, Father, politicians aren't doing anything either!" But what are you doing? If you aren't doing anything, then scream [about yourself]!


For us is the life of action, of strenuous performance of duty; let us live in the harness, striving mightily; let us rather run the risk of wearing out than rusting out.


As a confirmed melancholic, I can testify that the best and maybe the only antidote for melancholia is action.  However, like most melancholics, I suffer also from sloth.


All the interests of my reason, speculative as well as practical, combine in the three following questions: 1. What can I know? 2. What ought I to do? 3. What may I hope?

hope learning

Be willing to make decisions. That's the most important quality in a good leader. Don't fall victim to what I call the 'ready-aim-aim-aim-aim syndrome'. You must be willing to fire.


The result of a single action may spread like the circles that expand when a stone is thrown into a pond, until they touch places and people unguessed at by the person who threw the stone.
The chief condition on which life, health, and vigour depend on, is action. It is by action that an organism develops its faculties, increases its energy, and attains the fulfillment of its destiny.
You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them. You shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.
We have petitioned, and. our petitions have been scorned. We have entreated, and our entreaties have been. disregarded. We have begged, and they have mocked us. We beg no longer; we entreat no more; we petition no more. We defy them!
Intention is not enough. It's not enough for our brothers and sisters who are most in need, the victims of injustice and exclusion, those whom "the interior of our hearts" doesn't help in their need. It's not even enough for ourselves.
It may well be that we will have to repent in this generation.  Not merely for the vitriolic words and the violent actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence and indifference of the good people who sit around and say, "Wait on time."

apathy repentance

I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides.  Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim.  Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.  Sometime we must interfere.


No matter how full a reservoir of maxims one may possess, and no matter how good one's sentiments may be, if one has not taken advantage of every concrete opportunity to act, one's character may remain entirely unaffected for the better.  With mere good intentions, hell is proverbially paved.