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. wonderful post! I agree, we can all have the thoughts of doing something but taking the action to make it happen is the hard part. Lucky are those that have found and can follow their bliss! Michelle

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    • Hey Oscar, thanks for the note about the poem, amazing how these things find their way around. Good luck with the novel, etc. Write a million words as an apprentice and then you are well trained. Sometimes it takes five books to just get started, writing is something you have to do or you just don’t do it at all.

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      • No problem at all that was an interesting piece with the constant echoing of “your true __” after every line, I liked the “work for the good of all beings, your true profession” portion interesting read!! And that’s the truth need to crank out the bad passages to get to the good ones, I’ll write two million if I have to it’s a long apprenticeship. Thank you so much for the comment!!

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      • Ah Oscar, another principle of writing is that, unless you are a fucking literary genius like Dostoyevski or Vonnegut you have to do a bunch of bad writing before you can start doing the good writing. Its tough because we are all so invested in what we write. I write something and immediately think it is the greatest thing ever and then the next day reread it and wonder what the hell was I thinking. So it takes real dedication and sounds like you have a good dose of that.

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  2. Wise words indeed. Just given me a little jolt right on time and reminded me of the poster a friend of mine had back in the late 1960s ‘Remember. Today is the beginning of the rest of your life,’

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  3. “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 really enjoyed your post, and I do agree on questioning a lot of movements and initiatives. But I feel that a lot of our reactions are mostly instinctive and our minds are wired up to think about safety and survival first. In my opinion that’s why a lot of us question the motives behind our decisions and we second guess almost everything, it’s normal and probably better to be honest! 🙂

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    • So happy you enjoyed this post!! It’s true I wonder sometimes why we are always questioning our motivations you may be on to something with that perspective about how our minds are wired the brain’s such a mystery thank you so much for the insightful comment!! 🙂

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    • I find the curse of Sisyphus tremendously relatable as well, though I would like to imagine he was happy like Camus said, and gotta love Hemingway he was the man! Thanks so much for the comment happy blogging!!

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  4. Oscar, so many deep things in this post. And oh how I would love to travel…I said to myself when young, that was my life’s destiny- to travel the world. I found that travel in so many other ways…the way we least expect like in the movie – Under The Tuscan Sun when she got what she wanted at the end, just not as she thought it would come. With what you wrote- sometimes I do feel ‘stuck’ and sometimes I feel ‘propelled into’ and many other things. You rasied good questions, thought deeply in the post, and whereever it goes for this reader in introspect and ponderment… I enjoyed it. Thank you for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • No problem at all I’m happy to bring out an introspective moment in those who read my works, I believe we all need to reflect on our lives from time to time. I would really really love to travel as well but life hasn’t granted me that flexibility just yet, pray we both get our opportunity to explore the world some day! I hope you’re right that we’ll receive what we wanted, yet perhaps not in the form we were expecting in our lives. Life’s a mystery and our journeys are all unique and different, I hope yours brings you happiness and many adventures thank you so much for the comment and for reading my writings!! 🙂

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    • It really is tough, and other aspects of life too often gets in the way of what we love doing. I hit those moments from time to time as well, but in the end I always feel this impulse that I just have to write and that it’s not a choice anymore. Blessings to you in your writing journey we must always stay in a state of action in the pursuit of our aspirations 🙂

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  5. Its a beautiful piece indeed, i stumbled on it when i saw that you went through my short write up, clicked your link and saw this. Pleasantly strange is that i can relate to the post very much because i think and feel the same…bliss!

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    • Very happy that you connected with my writing!! I connected with your post on death, I feel a mix of emotions when I consider the topic too. It’s inevitable yet we never speak of it it’s a good point, it’s taboo. Maybe some day in the future humanity will evolve out of its thanatophobia and we will learn to let go and accept our existence for what it is from every angle, including the inevitability of the void at the end of it 🙂

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  6. I couldn’t agree more.. we are thinking about doing something but taking the action to make it happen is not that easy…But…once we start we will see the results sooner or latter we just have to be patient. I strongly agree with this statement “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”. Well we can’t give up even if we feel like it …. Good post, very interesting and nicely written.
    “Try to stay moving as much as you can Oscar! “

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re absolutely right patience is a necessary virtue, and so happy that portion connected with you!! And that’s the truth we can’t give up even if we felt like it, thank you so much for the lovely comment!! 🙂

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  7. I really enjoyed your writing about your life and the story about Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway had a style of living that we can all learn from — he never stopped learning and experiencing life — living it to the fullest while he created value for us to enjoy forever! Thank you for writing this blog Oscar it is well written!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much Jill!! Hemingway indeed had a lifestyle we could all learn from, he did live life to the fullest!! And you’re more than welcome I’ll do my best to produce new material I’ve been recently very stressed out and sidetracked with work but my heart’s here and in my writing and in time I’ll do my best to produce new posts that I hope are of some worth to my readers thank you for the kind comment!! 🙂

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    • Lmao I don’t know if I was necessarily dropping the mic per se but I was definitely trying to hype anybody up to pursue their goals when they know what they want!! And you’re of course more than welcome thank you for your kind comment!! 🙂

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    • You’re more than welcome happy to do so!! And i’m glad you enjoyed the post and the Sisyphus reference I think we all sometimes feel like we’re just pushing a boulder up a hill over and over to no prevail, but oftentimes in the end we do get that boulder over the hill 🙂

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  8. Therefore, it is about a paradigm shift, not just a different use of the tools that we have known until now. For setting the new premise.

    For a different view.

    When we finally realize that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

    When the chiaroscuro should be replaced by scurochiaro.

    The power of man to be limited and to nature to be returned the right to independence and sovereignty (not to mention territorial integrity).

    Antropocenic to be liberated of filters for water purification.

    Because he requires the filter for cleaning ecology, religion and ideology.

    To halt its effect on every molecule on earth.

    And to start introspectively affect every molecule in own body.

    With the objective of the insights of the sense of its existence, survival and flourishing.

    To return heaven on earth (… cultiver notre jardin).

    Candide or Lucy or Eve

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  9. This writing is good. I encourage the writer to keep going. Dare to explore different themes and topics. Partly, writing is a journey of self discovery, the part that I enjoy most. Take care, thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I really appreciate that thank you so much, I agree I need to explore different themes and topics and not be afraid to think and write about new things. It really is a journey of self-discovery but hopefully I can provide some value to others through my introspection thank you so much for the kind and supportive comment!!

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  10. I am so thankful you stumbled upon my blog and I in turn yours. Wow I needed this today. I cannot wait to read your other blogs, your writing is wonderful. So glad giving up is not an option of yours!

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    • I’m thankful as well best of luck in your pursuit of a healthy lifestyle!! And that’s awesome I’m happy you connected with this piece and I’m grateful for your encouragement to keep at it, it means a lot to me to get positive comments like these. I’ll be sure to keep at it and I hope you continue to keep at your health goals as well!! All the best to you!! 🙂

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  11. Totally enjoyed your post. And I can absolutely relate. I am on the tail end of a near panic attack, having asked myself those same questions; having confronted the fact that I made stupid decisions in my life and as a result am having the life that I have; but yet, knowing that I am exactly where I should be. It is quite haunting, I agree. But I wouldn’t trade this existence for the blandness and ordinariness of not seeking, not thinking, not learning, not growing. I am going to read some of your other posts now – this one was just fab.

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    • I apologize for the late reply so glad you enjoyed this post!! That’s really the right mindset, you need to embrace your circumstances and find a way towards your goals regardless of what life has thrown at you, these questions are haunting but I’m happy to know you don’t regret and you’re in a state of action and progress living an interesting and challenging existence!! Very thankful to have your readership every new reader is a blessing my life has really gotten hectic as of late but I am doing my best to make sure this blog does not get neglected and that I put up fresh posts in the future perhaps within the next couple of weeks. Thanks so much once again Darlene all the best to you!! 🙂

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  12. A beautiful write-up!! I myself is a big fan of adventure, but I also believe there should be a balance of going crazy exploring and acting responsibly for the blessings you already have…:)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Most definitely I’ve always wanted to travel out there into the great unknown but I’ve never really gotten the opportunity to travel the world too much haha feel free to peruse the world and my blog to your heart’s content cheers!!

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  13. “Am I taking the steps I need to take with my life? Is this a place from which I can springboard into something more?”
    – I ask myself this every single day, and I still don’t know the answer! Lovely post 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Too often I don’t either haha but I’m very happy that line connected with you!! And thank you so much for the compliment of my post, in regards to your post my personal favorite movie of all time is probably either Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind or the first Matrix, iunno hard to say actually now that I think about it haha but gotta love well made movies wish I had time to watch more happy blogging!!

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  14. I agree with you whole- heartedly Oscar! I particularly enjoyed your closing statement, “Push harder every damn day.”. Sometimes when we get the hard push- back from our local culture, it is the universe telling us that we must push harder! Revolutionary ideas and actions are most often met by social resistance even when they are right. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I apologize for the late reply very happy that closing statement resonated with you!! I like that perspective that when we meet with resistance, it’s the universe testing us to go at it even stronger. I hope my ideas might be able to shake things up a bit haha thank you so much for the kind and inspirational comment!! 🙂

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  15. Great thoughts you share with us… it can be very confusing. I know this feeling to have the pressure to be always productive, especially these days. But I think sometimes we should take a step back and just be and love ourselves.
    But also sometimes we really need to push harder… one of my bigges living inspirations is Lyon Herron (go check him out if you don’t know him! He’s the greatest and most positive mind. He changed me!) Also I would really appreciate it when you would read my newest posts and the reason of my blog and let me know what you think!

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    • I think you’re right, we need to make sure to just love ourselves for us and not put so much pressure on ourselves, but I live with a constant fear of complacency I guess. Definitely nothing wrong with just loving yourself for being yourself, we’ve all got to. I checked out that guy you mentioned he seems like he lives life to the fullest in spite of what negative circumstances have befallen his life from what I’m seeing. Gotta love a positive mind! I think your most recent post about financial independence is important not only for women but for all people to realize they need to take charge of their financial independence great post! All the best to you and thank you so much for the kind comment!! 🙂

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  16. Thanks for liking my post! And it is true that we must push harder today than yesterday. Believe or not, I really remind myself of the thought that today is my last day. It all began with the unsuccessful marathon training that I suspended about 4 weeks ago. To make this reply short, it is nice to be reminded again and again from anywhere that life is short, I gotta do my best on what I love to do – being active is one of them, and most of all, I must understand what my purpose is in life, not in all the big picture bs way, but in a way that I won’t regret (because we always do) because yesterdays don’t matter. Tomorrows haven’t happened. So, what matters is today, and it is the only day I’ve got. 🙂 Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    • No problem at all I’m really happy this post struck a chord with you!! I agree we need to always be thinking about the present, not to disregard the future but we can’t lose sight of today with our sights on tomorrow. And that’s awesome that you’ve found your own life perspective that you feel happy with, it’s a feat many people grapple with myself included at times, thank you so much for the comment!! 🙂

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    • It’s the truth, it’s all about striking the right balance and I’ve been finding myself losing it too often as of late, and it’s true that it’s terrible to be either aimless or stagnant I hear you can’t deny it. Thank you so much for the comment 🙂

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  17. The multiverse is in constant motion. Theory is the ‘big bang’ started it. Not the multiverse but the motion. Everything moves.
    But only biological entities can act. All actions are preceded by a thought. Always. Thoughts are like a window looking out at infinite possibilities and probobilities. Action comes from those thoughts when we try to make those thoughts reality.
    An action is specific. Movement is random. Far too many people simply move and do not act.
    So, choices become extremely important for those who act. Thought-choice of action-consequenses. My golden rule.

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  18. This one resonated with me, Oscar. A good read. I’m often focused on the “end result” of my endeavors, while missing completely that I enjoy my work. Perhaps it is my karma, or, the expectations and values of my parents and their generation, but I can ride myself pretty hard. I must BE the singer/songwriter, blogger/journalist, performer/speaker or I have failed. I’m often mired in making it official and trying to prove it while completely glossing over the fact that I love my work. Also, it takes the focus off of the small inglorious tasks and details to make it happen. Know what I mean?
    I think about these things allot. Your post reminded me and writing this comment helped me to further articulate it. Keep pushing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Very happy to hear that it resonated with you Jim, and it’s beautiful to hear that you enjoy the work you do and I’m very pleased that a piece I wrote helped you remember that you need to love what you’re doing. I have similar tendencies, I tend to ride myself pretty hard as well, and I’m always trying to make sure I’m in a state of action instead of letting myself get too caught in the current of habit. Especially when my habits have me doing things that I don’t particularly love, which is sort of where I’ve been as of late with work and it’s been my feeling as of late especially that my work doesn’t really feel like positive action, it’s writing that makes me feel like I’m taking action and living a more fulfilling life. I’m a bit tired while writing this reply I apologize but it’s always wonderful to hear that I’ve somehow positively impacted a reader, all the best to you in living a fulfilling life in line with what you deep down truly want and I’ll be sure to keep pushing in the direction of my dreams as well God bless 🙂

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  19. Hi Oscar,
    I’m not sure who you are but thank you for liking my post. It’s the most action my page has seen! I was enchanted by your quote re:catharsis, as I write just for that purpose. Then I was blown away by your writing and insight. I’m sure there are great people/writers out there but still I like to believe in random little occurrences meaning something. In this case, your quote and this post were just what I needed to read today.
    Thank you!
    Enjoy the catharsis and constant action.
    Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re very welcome I’m glad my writing has struck a cord with you!! I believe in random little occurrences meaning something as well and if something I’ve created gave you the boost you needed I couldn’t be happier as a writer thank you for that!! Cheers to you as well!! 🙂

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  20. I must say I have my doubts as to whether Hemingway’s life was “well-lived.” Yes, he did a lot of things and he wrote some good books- that’s achievement. But he was a pretty nasty human being. So in a strange way that corresponds with your original thought about action not necessarily being all there is to life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re more than welcome thank you so much for your kind words, I agree with your post on procrastination as well. It really is just another manifestation of fear and you’re right that we need to meet and overcome our fears instead of letting them control us. Thank you so much for your comment and your post all the best to you 🙂

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