on doing

Determine never to be idle. No person will have occasion to complain of the want of time who never loses any. It is wonderful how much may be done if we are always doing.

– Thomas Jefferson, 1743 – 1826


People seldom see the halting and painful steps by which the most insignificant success is achieved.

– Anne Sullivan, 1866 – 1936


People who reach the top of the tree are only those who haven’t got the qualifications to detain them at the bottom.

– Peter Ustinov, 1921 – 2004

What about the main thing in life, all its riddles?

If you want, I’ll spell it out for you right now. Do not pursue what is illusory – property and position: all that is gained at the expense of your nerves decade after decade, and is confiscated in one fell night. Live with a steady superiority over life – don’t be afraid of misfortune, and do not yearn after happiness; it is, after all, all the same: the bitter doesn’t last forever, and the sweet never fills the cup to overflowing.

– The Gulag Archipelago, Part II, Chapter IV,
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

It is not the critic who counts;

not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

– attributed to a speech by Theodore Roosevelt.