An aphorism is nothing else but the slightest
form of writing raised to the highest level of expressive communication. Carl William Brown




In this country men seem to live for action as long as they can and sink into apathy when they retire.


Charles Francis Adams (1807-1886, American statesman, diplomat)


Life happens at the level of events, not words.


Alfred Adler (1870-1937, Austrian psychiatrist)


I am one of those people who can't help getting a kick out of life -- even when it's a kick in the teeth.


Polly Adler (1900–1962, American author, brothel-keeper)


You can tell more about a person by what he says about others than you can by what others say about him.


Leo Aikman (American Journalist)


From a little spark may burst a mighty flame.


Dante Alighieri


The shortest distance between two points is under construction.


Noelie Alito


The greatest potential for control tends to exist at the point where action takes place.


Louis A. Allen (American author, “Burma")


Action and faith enslave thought, both of them in order not be troubled or inconvenienced by reflection, criticism, and doubt.


Henri Frederic Amiel (1821-1881, Swiss philosopher, poet, critic)


Action is coarsened thought; thought becomes concrete, obscure, and unconscious.


Henri Frederic Amiel (1821-1881, Swiss philosopher, poet, critic)


For purposes of action nothing is more useful than narrowness of thought combined with energy of will.


Henri Frederic Amiel (1821-1881, Swiss philosopher, poet, critic)


To wait for someone else, or to expect someone else to make my life richer, or fuller, or more satisfying, puts me in a constant state of suspension.


Kathleen Tierney Andrus


A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.


Maya Angelou (1928-, African-American poet, writer, performer)

Author's website:


Effective action is always unjust.


Jean Anouilh (1910-1987, French playwright)


Are you in earnest? Seize this very minute! Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Only engage, and then the mind grows heated. Begin, and then the work will be completed.


John Anster (1789–1867, Irish poet)


Those who are more adapted to the active life can prepare themselves for contemplation in the practice of the active life, while those who are more adapted to the contemplative life can take upon themselves the works of the active life so as to become yet more apt for contemplation.


St. Thomas Aquinas


Action without a name, a "who" attached to it, is meaningless.


Hannah Arendt (1906-1975, German-born American political philosopher)


What really distinguishes this generation in all countries from earlier generations... is its determination to act, its joy in action, the assurance of being able to change things by one's own efforts.


Hannah Arendt (1906-1975, German-born American political philosopher)


All human actions have one or more of these seven causes: chance, nature, compulsions, habit, reason, passion, desire.


Aristotle (BC 384-322, Greek philosopher)


For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.


Aristotle (BC 384-322, Greek philosopher)


Men acquire a particular quality by constantly acting a particular way. We become just by performing just actions, temperate by performing temperate actions, brave by performing brave actions.


Aristotle (BC 384-322, Greek philosopher)


We become just by performing just action, temperate by performing temperate actions, brave by performing brave action.


Aristotle (BC 384-322, Greek philosopher)


Well begun is half done.


Aristotle (BC 384-322, Greek philosopher)


What we have to learn to do, we learn by doing.


Aristotle (BC 384-322, Greek philosopher)


Who hesitate and falter life away, and lose tomorrow the ground won today.


Matthew Arnold (1822-1888, British poet, critic)


You can never get enough of the things you don't need, because the things you don't need can never satisfy.


Marvin J. Ashton (1915-1994, American religious leader, business executive, state senator)


In a land which is fully settled, most men must accept their local environment or try to change it by political means; only the exceptionally gifted or adventurous can leave to seek his fortune elsewhere. In America, on the other hand, to move on and make a fresh start somewhere else is still the normal reaction to dissatisfaction and failure.


W. H. Auden (1907-1973, Anglo-American poet)


The only correct actions are those that demand no explanation and no apology.


Red Auerbach (1917-, American basketball coach)


Dig within. Within is the wellspring of Good; and it is always ready to bubble up, if you just dig.


Marcus Aurelius (121-12180, Roman emperor, philosopher)


Do every act of your life as if it were your last.


Marcus Aurelius (121-12180, Roman emperor, philosopher)


To begin is half the work, let half still remain; again begin this, and thou wilt have finished.


Decimus Magnus Ausonius (310-395, Latin poet, man of letters)


The good that is in you is the good that you do for others.


Roger Babson (1875-1967, American statistician, columnist)


It was prettily devised of Aesop, "The fly sat on the axle tree of the chariot wheel and said,  what dust do I raise! "


Francis Bacon (1561-1626, British philosopher, essayist, statesman)


You must take action now that will move you towards your goals. Develop a sense of urgency in your life.


Les Brown (1945-, American speaker, author, trainer, motivator,)


Most people of action are inclined to fatalism and most of thought believe in providence.


Honore De Balzac (1799-1850, French novelist)


The most effective way to do it, is to do it.


Toni Cade Bambara (1959-, American writer)


Let me tell thee, time is a very precious gift of God; so precious that He only gives it to us moment by moment. He would not have thee waste it.


Amelia E. Barr (1831-1919, Anglo-American novelist)


It is easy to sit up and take notice, What is difficult is getting up and taking action.


Al Batt


There is no such thing as a long piece of work, except one that you dare not start.


Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867, French poet)


The secret of getting ahead is getting started.


Sally Berger


Think like a man of action, and act like a man of thought.


Henri L. Bergson (1859-1941, French philosopher)


Never forget that life can only be nobly inspired and rightly lived if you take it bravely and gallantly, as a splendid adventure in which you are setting out into an unknown country, to meet many a joy, to find many a comrade, to win and lose many a battle.


Annie Besant (1847-1933, British theosophist)


Reactionary: A man walking backwards with his face to the future.


Aneurin Bevan (1897-1960, British politician)


Action is the product of the qualities inherent in nature.


Bhagavad Gita (c. BC 400-, Sanskrit poem incorporated into the Mahabharata)


Action should culminate in wisdom, or is it action is a culmination of wisdom.


Bhagavad Gita (c. BC 400-, Sanskrit poem incorporated into the Mahabharata)


You can't aim a duck to death.


Gael Boardman (American politician)


There are people who put their dreams in a little box and say, "Yes, I've got dreams, of course, I've got dreams." Then they put the box away and bring it out once in a while to look in it, and yep, they're still there. These are great dreams, but they never even get out of the box. It takes an uncommon amount of guts to put your dreams on the line, to hold them up and say, "How good or how bad am I?" That's where courage comes in.


Erma Bombeck (1927-, American author, humorist)

Author's website:


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


Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945, German Lutheran pastor and theologian)


Time isn't a commodity, something you pass around like cake. Time is the substance of life. When anyone asks you to give your time, they're really asking for a chunk of your life.


Antoinette Bosco


Silences have a climax, when you have got to speak.


Elizabeth Bowen (1899-1973, Anglo-Irish novelist)


Oh, I'm not going to do anything to them. The thought that I might will be enough to keep them going.


Chris Bowkett


The world can only be grasped by action, not by contemplation. The hand is the cutting edge of the mind.


Jacob Bronowski (1908-1974, British scientist, author)


It is vain to say human beings ought to be satisfied with tranquility: they must have action; and they will make it if they cannot find it.


Charlotte Bronte (1816-1855, British novelist)


I was happy to have children.... I wanted my body, as well as my mind and spirit, to succeed, to reach an appropriate glory.


Gwendolyn Brooks (1917-, American poet)


I think we should follow a simple rule: if we can take the worst, take the risk.


Dr. Joyce Brothers (1927-, American psychologist, television and radio personality)


Let your performance do the thinking.


H. Jackson Brown Jr. (1940-, American author, "Life's Little Instruction Book" series)


Take action in order to move toward your goals.


Les Brown (1945-, American speaker, author, trainer, motivator,)


In this unbelievable universe in which we live, there are no absolutes. Even parallel lines, reaching into infinity, meet somewhere yonder.


Pearl S. Buck (1892-1973, American novelist)


To eat bread without hope is still slowly to starve to death.


Pearl S. Buck (1892-1973, American novelist)


Someone's sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.


Warren Buffett (1930-, American investment entrepreneur)


Let us do or die.


Robert Burns (1759-1796, Scottish poet)


The critical ingredient is getting off your butt and doing something. It's as simple as that. A lot of people have ideas, but there are few who decide to do something about them now. Not tomorrow. Not next week. But today. The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer.


Nolan Bushnell (American businessman, founder of Atari Computer)


Every action we take, everything we do, is either a victory or defeat in the struggle to become what we want to be.


Anne Byrhhe


In soloing -- as in other activities -- it is far easier to start something than it is to finish it.


Amelia Earhart (1897-1937, American aviator, author)


Dwell not on the past. Use it to illustrate a point, then leave it behind. Nothing really matters except what you do now in this instant of time. From this moment onwards you can be an entirely different person, filled with love and understanding, ready with an outstretched hand, uplifted and positive in every thought and deed.


Eileen Caddy (American spiritual writer)


A good action is never lost; it is a treasure laid up and guarded for the doer's need.


Pedro Calderon de la Barca (1600-1681, Spanish playwright)


A dog barks when his master is attacked. I would be a coward if I saw that God's truth is attacked and yet would remain silent.


John Calvin (1509-1564, French protestant reformer)


Leap, and the net will appear.


Julie Cameron (American author, "The Artist's Way")


Life leaps like a geyser for those who drill through the rock of inertia.


Dr. Alexis Carrel (1873-1944, French biologist)


Make yourself into honey, and the flies will eat you up. Until death, all is life.


Miguel De Cervantes (1547-1616, Spanish novelist, dramatist, poet)


Man is the only creature who refuses to be what he is.


Albert Camus (1913-1960, French existential writer)


A brilliant idea without action is like Mark McGwire playing baseball without a bat.


Jack Canfield (American motivational speaker, author, trainer)

Author's website:


Everything you want is out there waiting for you to ask. Everything you want also wants you. But you have to take action to get it.


Jack Canfield (American motivational speaker, author, trainer)

Author's website:


Action hangs, as it were, "dissolved" in speech, in thoughts whereof speech is the shadow; and precipitates itself therefrom. The kind of speech in a man betokens the kind of action you will get from him.


Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881, Scottish philosopher, author)


Everywhere in life, the true question is not what we gain, but what we do.


Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881, Scottish philosopher, author)


Narrative is linear, but action has breadth and depth as well as height and is solid.


Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881, Scottish philosopher, author)


No man lives without jostling and being jostled; in all ways he has to elbow himself through the world, giving and receiving offence.


Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881, Scottish philosopher, author)


No sooner is your ocean filled, than he grumbles that it might have been of better vintage. Try him with half of a Universe, of an Omnipotence, he sets to quarrelling with the proprietor of the other half and declares himself the most maltreated of men. Always there is a black spot in our sunshine: it is even as I said the 'Shadow of Ourselves'.


Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881, Scottish philosopher, author)


Our grand business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand.


Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881, Scottish philosopher, author)


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


Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919, American industrialist, philanthropist)


There is no use trying, said Alice; one can't believe impossible things. I dare say you haven't had much practice, said the Queen. When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.


Lewis Carroll (1832-1898, British writer, mathematician)


People may doubt what you say, but they will believe what you do.


Lewis Cass


Good actions ennoble us, and we are the sons of our own deeds.


Miguel De Cervantes (1547-1616, Spanish novelist, dramatist, poet)


The person of intellect is lost unless they unite with energy of character. When we have the lantern of Diogenes we must also have his staff.


Sebastien-Roch Nicolas De Chamfort (1741-1794, French writer, journalist, playwright)


Every action of our lives touches on some chord that will vibrate in eternity.


Edwin Hubbel Chapin (1814-1880, American author, clergyman)


In action be primitive; in foresight, a strategist.


Rene Char


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.


Gilbert K. Chesterton (1874-1936, British author)


Before you can inspire with emotion, you must be swamped with it yourself. Before you can move their tears, your own must flow. To convince them, you must yourself believe.


Winston Churchill (1874-1965, British statesman, Prime Minister)


I am easily satisfied with the very best.


Winston Churchill (1874-1965, British statesman, Prime Minister)


I never worry about action, but only inaction.


Winston Churchill (1874-1965, British statesman, Prime Minister)


We should not be so taken up in the search for truth, as to neglect the needful duties of active life; for it is only action that gives a true value and commendation to virtue.


Marcus T. Cicero (c. 106-43 BC, Roman orator, politician)


Action makes more fortune than caution.


Luc De Clapiers


A man who has to be convinced to act before he acts is not a man of action. You must act as you breathe.


Georges Clemenceau (1841-1929, French statesman)


A man who waits to believe in action before acting is anything you like, but he's not a man of action. You must act as you breathe.


Georges Clemenceau (1841-1929, French statesman)


When a man asks himself what is meant by action he proves that he isn't a man of action. Action is a lack of balance. In order to act you must be somewhat insane. A reasonably sensible man is satisfied with thinking.


Georges Clemenceau (1841-1929, French statesman)


When a man forgets himself, he usually does something everybody else remembers.


James Coco


If we take care of the inches, we will not have to worry about the miles.


Hartley Coleridge


Begin to free yourself at once by doing all that is possible with the means you have, and as you proceed in this spirit the way will open for you to do more.


Robert Collier (1885-1950, American writer, publisher)


Take the first step, and your mind will mobilize all its forces to your aid. But the first essential is that you begin. Once the battle is started, all that is within and without you will come to your assistance.


Robert Collier (1885-1950, American writer, publisher)


Like other revolutionaries I can thank God for the reactionaries. They clarify the issue.


Robin G. Collingwood (1889-1943, British historian, philosopher)


If you don't make things happen then things will happen to you.


Lanes Company


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