action 2 - action 3 - action 4 - action 5

Action may not always
bring happiness;
but there is no happiness
without action.

Benjamin Disraeli
(this quotation is also
attributed to William James)


There is a tendency among many shallow thinkers of our day to teach that every human act is a reflex, over which we do not exercise human control.  They would rate a generous deed as no more praiseworthy than a wink, a crime as no more voluntary than a sneeze. . . Such a philosophy undercuts all human dignity. . . All of us have the power of choice in action at every moment of our lives.

Fulton J. Sheen


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

Frank Tibolt


It's the action, not the fruit of the action, that's important.  You have to do the right thing.  It may not be in your power, may not be in your time, that there'll be any fruit.  But that doesn't mean you stop doing the right thing.  You may never know what results come from your action.  But if you do nothing, there will be no result.

Mohandas Gandhi

Whatever we learn to do, we learn by actually doing it; we come to be builders, for instance, by building, and harp players by playing the harp.  In the same way, by doing just acts we come to be just; by doing self-controlled acts, we come to be self-controlled; and by doing brave acts, we become brave.


Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there.

Will Rogers


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

Mitch Albom

Have a Little Faith


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We think the pleasure of life is in receiving sensations—a most . . .
limited idea.  The main pleasures of life come through expression
rather than impression.  It is more pleasant to paint a picture than
to look at it,—to sing than to hear singing.  Supplied with every
conceivable means of gratification, a human being soon exhausts
the pleasure of having things, but given right avenues to employ
his or her energies, never exhausts the pleasure of doing things.
The receiving power of an organism is not so great as its giving
power.  Expression is greater than impression.  We fondly imagine
that it is better to have things than do them,— an error carried to its
natural height when acting under this mistake we seek to avoid
work and look down upon the worker.

Charlotte Perkins Gilman


Many people are good at talking about what they are doing, but
in fact do little.  Others do a lot but don't talk about it;
they are the ones who make a community live.

Jean Vanier
Community and Growth


The best portion of a good person's life,--
Their little nameless, unremembered acts
Of kindness and of love.

William Wordsworth



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

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

action 2 - action 3 - action 4 - action 5

All life is a chance. So take it!  The person who goes
the furthest is the one who is willing to do and dare.

Dale Carnegie

Having the world's best idea will do you no good unless you act on it.
People who want milk shouldn't sit on a stool in the middle
of a field in hopes that a cow will back up to them.

Curtis Grant


What makes the difference between wishing and realizing our
wishes?  Lots of things, of course, but the main one, I think, is
whether we link our wishes to our active work.  It may take
months or years, but it's far more likely to happen when we care
so much that we'll work as hard as we can to make it happen.
And when we're working toward the realization of our wishes,
some of our greatest strengths come from the
encouragement of people who care about us.

Fred Rogers
The World According to Mr. Rogers


One must learn by doing the thing; though you think
you know it, you have no certainty until you try.



I got the blues thinking of the future, so I left off and
made some marmalade.  It's amazing how it cheers
one up to shred oranges and scrub the floor.

D.H. Lawrence


Deliberation is the work of many people.
Action, of one alone.

Charles de Gaulle



The way of the sage is to act
but not to compete.


I will not steep my speech in lies;
the test of any person lies in action.



Action is itself neither virtuous nor sinful.  The error lies in attributing
it to our false individuality, when really it emanates from God.  So no
action is to be discarded.  All actions are to be surrendered to him.

Papa Ramdas

from the Bhagavad-Gita:

Activity is better than inertia.  Act, but with self-control. . . .
The world is imprisoned in its own activity, except when
actions are performed as worship of God.

Let not the fruit of action be your motive to action.
Your business is with action alone, not with the fruit of action.

Perform all necessary acts, for action is better than inaction;
none can live by sitting still and doing nought; it is by action only
that a person attains immunity from action.

action 2 - action 3 - action 4 - action 5

Every moral act of love, of mercy, and of sacrifice brings
to pass the end of the world where hatred, cruelty,
and selfishness reign supreme.

Nicholas Berdyaev


I will act as if I do make a difference.

William James


If we do not change our daily lives,
we cannot change the world.

Thich Nhat Hanh


Articles and book excerpts on Action:

Active and Receptive      Shakti Gawain
Are You Staying on Track?      Jeff Keller

Be Willing to Be a Little Outrageous to Get What You Want      Lisa Jimenez

Conquer Doubt      Vic Johnson

Emotional Response Primer      Louise Morganti Kaelin

How to Cheer Yourself up When You're Down      Colleen Moulding

I Can't      tom walsh

Just Do It!      Kathy Paauw

The Meaning behind Our Words      T.W. Winslow

Pay It Forward      Gail Pursell Elliott

A Psalm of Life      Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Thoughts on the Serenity Prayer      Ray Whiting

What Happened?      Julie Jordan Scott

Why Do People Fail?      Robert Taylor

Keep Track of Your Results      Jim Rohn
How I Stopped "Waiting for Jack"   Kristen Moeller


We have some inspiring and motivational books that may interest you.  Our main way of supporting this site is through the sale of books, either physical copies or digital copies for your Amazon Kindle (including the online reader).  All of the money that we earn through them comes back to the site in one way or another.  Just click on the picture to the left to visit our page of books, both fiction and non-fiction!


I do the very best I know how--the very best I can; and I mean to keep
doing so until the end. If the end brings me out all right, what is said against
me won't amount to anything.  If the end brings me out wrong, ten
angels swearing I was right would make no difference.

Abraham Lincoln


There are two kinds of idiots--those who don't take action because
they have received a threat, and those who think they are taking
action because they have issued a threat.

Paulo Coelho
The Devil and Miss Prym


Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action comes, stop thinking and go in.

Napoleon Bonaparte

Do not sit still; start moving now.  In the beginning, you may not go
in the direction you want, but as long as you are moving,
you are creating alternatives and possibilities.

Rodolfo Costa
Advice My Parents Gave Me

Spiritual thoughts on action:


Young people say, What is the sense of our small effort?  They
cannot see that they must lay one brick at a time; we can be
responsible only for the one action at the present moment.
But we can beg for an increase of love in our hearts that will
vitalize and transform all our individual actions, and know that
God will take them and multiply them, as Jesus
multiplied the loaves and fishes.

Dorothy Day


Not enjoyment and not sorrow
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each tomorrow
Find us further than today. . . .

Trust no future, howe'er pleasant!
Let the dead past bury its dead!
Act--act in the living present!
Heart within, and God overhead!

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

No one can write their real religious life with pen or pencil.  It is
written only in actions, and its seal is our character, not our
orthodoxy.  Whether we, our neighbor, or God is the judge,
absolutely the only value of our religious life to ourselves or to
anyone is what it fits us for and enables us to do.

Wilfred T. Grenfell


Found online:

(Found online images come from a variety of unattributed
sources from various social media pages.  They're too nice
not to share!)


Yes, life can be mysterious and confusing--but there's much of life that's actually rather dependable and reliable.  Some principles apply to life in so many different contexts that they can truly be called universal--and learning what they are and how to approach them and use them can teach us some of the most important lessons that we've ever learned.
My doctorate is in Teaching and Learning.  I use it a lot when I teach at school, but I also do my best to apply what I've learned to the life I'm living, and to observe how others live their lives.  What makes them happy or unhappy, stressed or peaceful, selfish or generous, compassionate or arrogant?  In this book, I've done my best to pass on to you what I've learned from people in my life, writers whose works I've read, and stories that I've heard.  Perhaps these principles can be a positive part of your life, too!
Universal Principles of Living Life Fully.  Awareness of these principles can explain a lot and take much of the frustration out of the lives we lead.



Explore all of our quotations pages--these links will take you to the first page of each topic, and those pages will contain links to any additional pages on the same topic.

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