Movement vs. Action

My life’s gained quite a bit of overall activity as of late, and in the midst of all this activity I’m reminded of an Ernest Hemingway quote that I’ve loved for a very long time, which is that we must “Never confuse movement with action.”

Hemingway was famous for having a very active lifestyle. He traveled all over the globe. He reported on the Spanish Civil War. He went on safari in Africa. He interacted with countless lives, had countless adventures, basically any words I write can only bring forth bland images of his vibrant life well-lived. I could only dream of living quite so active a life, but I’m sure some people out there will be blessed enough to live just as fully as Hemingway did.

I’ve done my best to stay in a state of doing in my life, I just try to stay moving as much as I can. But there are moments where I feel this strong impulse to take a step back, take a deep breath, and remind myself that anything I do should be for a productive purpose. That I shouldn’t just be doing things for the sake of doing things. For the sake of established habit. I should be taking actions for the sake of improving myself as an individual, and doing what I can to improve upon those actions to optimize their benefit.

But there are sudden moments where I find myself wondering if it’s all futility. If I’m just Sisyphus pushing a rock up a hill, and that life is just a strange punishment for some original sin of existing. Some joke of a Higher Power on us all.

I’ve been in a state of constant happy movement, but I had a weird, sleepy, semi-objective look at my life today while I was waking up. A rampage of questions bombarded my groggy mind. Am I taking the steps I need to take with my life? Is this a place from which I can springboard into something more? Will things shift? I feel okay about the trajectory brought on by my life’s more recent actions, but in my more introspective moments, questions like that haunt me. I’m sure they haunt most of us, but maybe it’s just me. I hope it’s just me. I’d wish that type of sudden hesitation on no one.

I’m not advocating second-guessing every other step you take in life, nobody can live like that. He who hesitates plays a dangerous game. But I do think it’s best, in the midst of heightened movement in life, to occasionally take a step back and try to ask yourself hard questions about your actions. To see where you’re going to make sure you’re moving in a good direction.

But when you know you’re doing what you need to do in your life, and you’re taking productive actions that bring you forward, and that state of action brings you joy, there’s only one real option from that point onward.

Push harder every damn day.

375 thoughts on “Movement vs. Action

  1. It’s so easy to get caught in the movements when the results bring a personal joy and success. I agree, a step back to examine your trajectory and state of self is vital, especially to ensure moves made are not just that, but also weigh in purposes. Interesting post, leaving me pensive 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • So grateful you enjoyed the post!! I’m happy it resonated with you, it’s not at all my intention to get anybody second guessing their decisions but I was just having a sort of pensive day haha thanks for the comment!!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much!! I agree I do think reflection is important, we need to always be examining ourselves and our ambitions and what actions we’re taking to better ourselves and improve our lots in life, thank you for the comment!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A great posting, thanks. I must admit I’ve always tried to be something of a free spirit. I remember in one of the plays I wrote over 25 years ago now (“Cloud Mother” was the name of the play), the character said, “You cling to grass in a windy storm and you’ll not let yourself be blown nowhere.” I like to think there’s a certain adventure in taking life as it comes!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Wow that’s a very interesting line!! I agree that it’s best to be a free spirit and taking life as it comes, finding ways to navigate through life that way can certainly yield opportunities that more rigid approaches don’t allow for, thank you for this kind and productive comment!!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Just asking these questions suggest that you’re on the right track. Do you think Hemingway didn’t have these thoughts? I think he had a motherload of questions! A great post!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Don’t let it get you down! In actual fact, Sisyphus was being punished by Zeus for his wrongdoings, so theoretically, he deserved his fate. The French philosopher Sartre said that we should concentrate not on the bit where Sisyphus is pushing the rock up the hill, but rather, we should imagine his pleasure as he walks back down the slope, taking in the view, looking at the birds and trees etc etc. Anyway, it’s a thought!

    Liked by 1 person

      • Wish I were more familiar with their perspectives on these topics, I’ve read quotes of Camus and Sartre in passing but I’m less familiar with them than I need to be, thank you for the comment!!

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    • Thank you for this positive comment!! That’s interesting I actually never really knew what the mythology was around Sisyphus, and I’m not too familiar with Sartre beyond his talking about how thinking about any individual thing for too long leads you to believe that thing and all dimensions of that thing to be absurd haha but I do believe I have heard that Sartre perspective before that we should imagine Sisyphus is happy in his daily toils! It is a productive thought!!

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    • I think I’m now realizing that I may have mixed up perspectives or possibly mistook Sartre’s perspective for Camus’s perspective I apologize haha it’s been a long day but thank you once again for the comment!!

      Like

  5. Good day Mr. Relentos, about to get up and start my day, I was mulling over e mails and account balances on my computer, trying to keep my mind busy as it is Vet day for my dog. A test for Cushings disease, but I do not like to leave her at the vet and she must stay for three to four hours. I happened upon this, your most recent post, and could relate to it. At times I wonder if all my education, all my thinking about the world and all the “whys” that come with it, have enriched my life…or just complicated it. i like the imagination aspect of ifwknifton’s post, and thanks to all for their enlightening words above. I can see, now that I am retired, that life is totally what we make of it from second to second, the responsibility is tiring at first and something I previously thought fate would take care of.
    If anyone has a nifty, brilliant, simple equation on how to feel fulfilled about life on a daily basis, please post it. Thanks Oscar for starting my day out with a smile! Anita

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good day to you as well! It’s true I sometimes wonder if the wondering is a productive thing in the first place but I just can’t help it sometimes, hope your dog’s doing well! That was an interesting perspective in jfwknifton’s comment, and I agree that life is really what we make of it and not left to the whims of fate as far as we know, so it’s no good to believe in fate because if it exists or doesn’t exist, ultimately our lives will remain as they are, I don’t know if that makes sense I’m pretty drained from the day haha but I too wish an all-encompassing equation for fulfillment in life were available so happy you enjoyed my post and very very happy to have gotten your day started with a smile!! 🙂

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  6. Hi Oscar,

    Not sure if this will reach you, I’m just following what it says on my email and hoping for the best.

    Just wanted to once again tell you that *you write incredibly well!* This post really resonates with me, since I’ve become quite busy of late myself. In fact, I haven’t been able to write my next WordPress post yet, ahh!

    We all have our moments of insecurity, believe me. As a 20 something still searching for my first break in advertising, I can attest to that.

    The trick is to *push through *(like you put it so aptly) and give it your all, and *believe* that the *stars will line up for you.*

    I’m glad I subscribed to your blog, looking forward to your next post! 🙂

    Cheers, Karan

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Karan,
      Thank you so much for the kind compliment of my writing!! Every subscriber is a blessing it means the world to me to have readers and I’m especially overjoyed when I feel I can somehow help get to the heart of matters that resonate with us all, I’m very happy the post resonates with you. It’s my desire to connect with something true for others as well as for myself when I can, I’m a 20 something as well navigating through a world with paths unclear.
      Hopefully if we keep at it the stars line up for us both! Hope you get your break in advertising and best wishes in your pushing through the challenges of life!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I just checked in to see if my comment went through, I’m glad I did cos I’ve just seen your reply.
        I know how incredible it feels when you write something meaningful that manages to strike a chord with people, keep going, you’re doing it right.
        Thank you so much for the well wishes!
        Finally, I wish you the same with your journey. I’m sure as I read more of your blog, I will probably learn more about your dreams and aspirations. Until then, happy days!

        Liked by 1 person

      • You are very welcome for the well wishes, I hope I can continue to produce posts which resonate with others I hope I’m doing it right!! And thank you for the well wishes on my journey, feel free to drop by whenever you so desire!! Happy days to you as well and take care!!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. My mother always told me that the only thing worse than making a wrong decision is making no decision at all. I had just graduated and it was like standing in a corridor with all these options, but I stayed floundering wondering which one was that “perfect” answer, instead of actively testing my options. Now I don’t think. I simply take the next logical step, which also encompasses backtracking if need be, but hey even rivers wind to the sea.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My apologies for getting to this late I thought I’d answered all comments here, I agree we need to be decisive in our lives, exploring our options like you said, finding what path is right for us by testing out new paths, and sometimes we realize a path was a mistake and that’s okay, we learn and try again with a fresher and better informed perspective. Thank you for the insightful comment!!

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  8. I enjoyed this post. I believe that often times we are so busy being “busy” that we miss out on some very important things and end up going in the wrong direction. It’s good to reassess our actions periodically.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Hello again, Oscar… I finished reading the comments after reading your post and what impressed me most of all is that you are attentive to what people are expressing to you and incredibly kind, receptive and encouraging in response… so no matter what choices you are making to “self improve” or imbibe with purpose and meaning for your life, you have a very sweet being or positive core that you are already working from. I like you. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi again Katherine! Those are very kind words I don’t quite know what to say haha thank you for that, I try to be all those things you mentioned in responding to readers because I know they took the time to interact with me in a thoughtful manner and it’s only right that I reciprocate in kind, I just love that anybody is checking out my blog it trips me out still, just in all things in life I try to be kind to all who show me respect and show me love and to keep a positive mindset as much as is humanly possible. Thanks again for this sweet comment and thanks again for introducing me to that Carroll Spinney documentary haha cheers Katherine!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you!! I’d definitely say one of my favorite quotes is this Hemingway quote haha another one of my favorite quotes is a Murakami quote which goes “There’s no such thing as perfect writing, just like there’s no such thing as perfect despair.” That one always resonated with me, and somehow made me feel more free to write my own way. Happy blogging!!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. When I worked in music I used to almost meet myself coming back, I was so frantically busy. Now I write and I have to make myself busy, and make myself produce, as having so much time on my hands it might easily take me all day to do nothing and so I am strict with myself…I work hard but I enjoy it. Such a fab blog, thanks for finding my author blog and directing me here. Wishing you time and success and a happy weekend. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much for the kind compliment of my blog, I hear you on that busy type of schedule, and it’s great that you enjoy the hard work of writing and producing, it’s a rewarding experience!! I wish you all the time and success in the world and a happy weekend to you as well!! Cheers!!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Reblogged this on stayfoolish2day and commented:
    Very impressive dialogue by Oscar Relentos to distinguish between Movement vs. Action.
    We need to be productive.
    We must ask ourself each day ‘Am I Productive & Using All My Energy or Resources?’
    After several no, you will soon have a day when you shall answer ‘yes’.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Hello Mr Relentos, I enjoy the fact that you write on such varied topics. Thank you for liking my blog post. I am a new entrant to the world of blogging and gestures like yours help to boost my confidence!

    Liked by 1 person

    • No problem at all very happy to help boost your confidence!! And I’m glad you like the fact that I write on varied topics I mainly write on things that are immediately on my mind and do my best to make it of some value to readers so hearing that you like that approach is great to know, thank you for the comment!!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Oscar Thank you!
    My “morning pages” had me flowing into this same realization today as I traveled through my past several years in which I was doing a whole lot of “doing just to have done” (and a lot of “running” as well).
    Now, in the velvet throne of motherhood, I am faced daily with the joy of action with a purpose – an artful, beautiful purpose – one which invites more life to spring from it.

    So I have LOVED reading your very well-expressed post on this topic.
    Actually I love your whole blog – you use your space and words and energy so well and communicate not only relevant thoughts but uplifting, “higher consciousness” ones.
    I do not choose to have a lot of time to read and follow blogs but yours I will make an exception for. 🙂
    Thank you Oscar!

    Yours truly,
    Emily Rose

    Liked by 2 people

    • Motherhood is a life filled with tremendous purpose I wish you nothing but the best with such a blessing!! And I’m so happy you enjoyed reading my post along with the other posts on my site it means the world to me to have readers, and it’s tremendous to get such positive and thoughtful comments like this one it inspires me to keep at it thank you so much for this!! I hope I’m able to provide value with what posts I put up, feel free to stop by any time you so desire believe me when I say every new reader is valued, I’ve gone so long writing in a vacuum thank you so much once again for checking out my blog 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oscar its my pleasure! Your zest is contagious. And like I said you’re a most excellent writer! Thank you for valuing our time as readers and truly “crafting.”

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much Irene!! I appreciate the compliment on my writing voice and I very much appreciate your readership every new follower gives me a good dopamine rush haha thank you for checking out my blog!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  14. There’s a lot of truth here and I enjoy your writing. Certainly there’s a need for balance between activity and reflection. In our culture, I do think we get so caught up in being “busy” that we don’t take time to reflect.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Very happy you enjoy my writing style, gives me strength to keep going to hear kind comments like this. I know that I have a strong tendency to get so busy that I forget to reflect and I agree that it does seem to be something common and semi-ingrained in our culture, hopefully we can all strike our balance in life, thank you once again for the kind comment 🙂

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  15. Movement is a trap we all fall into. Busyness makes us feel productive, even when we produce nothing. Wanting your actions to be truely productive is a nice sentiment, but be weary you don’t fall into an idea of productivity or self improvement that others has imposed on you to their benefit. Don’t regret activities done for their own sake. There is value in just being in the moment.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I completely agree, busyness does give us comfort in the illusion of action. It’s oftentimes hard to differentiate between the two, and a lot of the times we don’t know the difference between action and movement until years down the road when we see where our movements or actions have taken us. And that’s very true, there is innate personal value in many different actions and there is value in just being in the moment like you said, and I’m in no way against that, but I am certainly partly speaking out against pressures which others impose upon you under the guise of helping you. And I do believe there are certain actions that can be good within the moment in moderation, but if done in excess they become a detriment to your living a fulfilling life. I may not be articulating that as well as I would like I apologize for that haha but thank you so much for the comment!!

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  16. Hi Oscar, you sly fox. You really know how to reach people, and your writing is great. Of course not everyone is an introspective personality. With some people it’s always, “ship the anchor, and full steam ahead!” I am a big believer in “failing your way to success”. Perfectionism is paralyzing and becomes an excuse for not really trying. It’s also a sign that someones ego is too concerned with the opinions of others. If we are engaged in an activity we find personally joyful, then it is only ourselves that we have to please, and anyone else we make happy is simply a bonus. If I rounded up a thousand publishers and had them all lined up in a row, and told you that 3 out of the thousand would publish your next book, if you just asked them to, how long do you think it would take you to find those three? Writers need to encourage each other because if you’re not a writer then guess what,…your a critic! And we have enough of those out there, don’t we?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Haha thank you so much for the compliments!! I agree I also believe in constantly trying and failing fast so you can figure out newer and more refined approaches that can also fail in their own unique and informative ways. I completely agree that we as writers need to encourage one another as well it’s a very rare occasion where I feel any sort of impulse to criticize a creative work, there really are enough critics out there for that. Hopefully I can find those three publishers someday haha thank you so much for the positive comment and it’s very true that the writing in and of itself is its own reward and all else beyond is just a nice and welcome bonus 🙂

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  17. Reflection is always good. I have found myself for health reasons, living a much slower paced life lately and it’s not all bad. But I need to have a purpose and goal, a direction, instead of wandering aimlessly which I feel I’ve been doing lately. Working to find that purpose.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I wholeheartedly believe a slower paced life can certainly still be an action filled life, just at a good and sustainable pace 🙂 I agree we need to reflect from time to time, and I hope you are able to find your clarity sometime in the near future!! Best of luck to you as you strive for your own personal meaning, it’s a journey we all must take

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for the kind compliment!! I hate to say that after thinking about it more I believe it’s more likely than not that such thoughts haunt a good number of people, myself very much so included. And you’re more than welcome, thank you so much for your readership and for checking out my blog 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • True you could view Hemingway’s life from a lot of different angles haha but can’t deny the man could write, and I agree the quote’s a good quote as are many Hemingway quotes 🙂

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  18. It could be said that Hemingway’s constant forward motion was in an effort to stimulate his writing through his experiences. It was done with that sole purpose in mind and was to please no-one but himself. That could be construed as selfish. Surely it’s far better to travel but to occasionally pause to be sure that what you’re experiencing is providing you with personal growth and hopefully bettering the world by your actions.
    We surely have to consider the wellbeing of those we travel with or towards rather than out own self satisfaction.
    Maybe our journeys won’t always be as exciting as those of some writers, but they can have the same or higher value if we gave them thought.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a very inspirational thought, that even if the journeys we go on aren’t as exciting as others, that they may still hold greater meaning in the end than those more exciting journeys, thank you for that perspective it does bear repeating and bearing in mind. It’s important to experience personal growth, and personal growth doesn’t always arise from an exciting life. Sometimes living a hedonistic life can make us miserable, it’s true we can live lives of value without them being excessively pleasureful or exciting, thank you for the enlightening and insightful comment!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Hi Oscar – thanks for the like on my recent post. Great, thought-provoking piece. My thoughts are – whether we’re being pushed along by external forces not within our control, or whether we’re the captains of our own progress is the real question. We can’t avoid those external factors (family, opinion of our peers, money needs etc.) , but finding the balance is the important thing. It can be difficult to achieve.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It can be very difficult to achieve I wholeheartedly agree. It’s true we can’t always avoid those external factors, but we certainly need to find that balance. Thank you for the comment!!

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  20. I loved this post and I think it something all motivated people struggle with. Is it a time for action or inaction? Am I on the right path? Is it time to actually step back or am I being lazy or running from something? In times like these, I look for signs. Not huge signs like lightning bolts but small ones like little coincidences and unsolicited encouragement or advice. Or is everything in life against me on this? Am is beig tenacious or blind to the universe trying to tell me this might not be the way? It’s not easy to tell and sometimes you just have to leap and hope it’s the right choice. Great blog and thank for the like. as someone just starting out it meant a lot to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Very happy you enjoyed this post!! It’s true it’s not easy to tell at times but you just have to take that leap of faith to know. You’re more than welcome for the like you have some eclectic taste in cities haha reading that post definitely made me want to travel more!! Very happy you enjoy my blog and best of luck to you with your starting your blog happy blogging!!

      Liked by 1 person

  21. “Push harder every day”. Thank you for that! Those words have given me an “aha” moment. As a writer, I need to be more disciplined and need to not be lazy. I’m taking those words to heart! Best!, Cathe

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