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3 of the Greatest Quotes - W.H. Murray, Henry David Thoreau & Marianne Williamson

Updated on July 18, 2011

The Moment One Definitely Commits, Then Providence Moves Too

One of my favorite quotes comes from the Scottish explorer W.H. Murray (18 March 1913–19 March 1996). Though a part of the quote is commonly cited and attributed to Goethe, the entire passage is taken from Murray’s book The Scottish Himalayan Expedition (1951).

In proper context, we understand the power of commitment. Speaking of the beginning of his expedition he expressed that they hadn’t done anything yet, but then clarifies:

But when I said that nothing had been done I erred in one important matter. We had definitely committed ourselves and were halfway out of our ruts. We had put down our passage money–booked a sailing to Bombay. This may sound too simple, but is great in consequence. Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too . A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. I learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets:

Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!’

The "couplet" referred to as Goethe's is often attributed directly to Goethe, but it should be noted that it is actually a rough paraphrase of some of Goethe's writing which was originally written in German.

If One Advances Confidently In The Direction of His Dreams...

Again, another powerful quote that is often cut short when referenced.

This one comes from Henry David Thoreau's book Walden , which was written on an almost 2 year-long sabbatical (July 1845 to September 1847) that he took from "civilized life", retiring to the woods and living a self-sufficient life near Walden Pond, Massachussets.

“I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
He will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary; new, universal, and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves around and within him; or the old laws be expanded, and interpreted in his favor in a more liberal sense, and he will live with the license of a higher order of beings.
In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness.
If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.”

Henry David Thoreau, Walden (Chapter 18)

Regarded as one of the best reads of all time, Walden is a classic, moving commentary on the priorities and value of life as they should be.

Our Deepest Fear quote

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Marianne Williamson – A Return To Love

This quote is commonly attributed to Nelson Mandela, as he did use it in one of his famous speeches, however the original author is indeed Marianne Williamson, from her book: A Return To Love .

Redefining The Dream

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