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. This is such a great piece! I love that you bring together the need to maintain a purposeful, meaningful, fruitful life through self-assured hard work and busyness with the necessary balance of occasional purposeful reflection. Also, thanks for liking my post on my blog!

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thank you so much!! And wow that’s a very eloquent way of putting it thank you, I’m happy that you felt like there was a balance to the piece I didn’t want to be all the way absolute about there not being times where we do need to just keep busy as it often lends itself to productivity, you’ve summed up the gist of what I was getting at beautifully. And you’re very welcome that was a very meaningful piece you wrote. The Kierkegaard quote caught my eye as well he’s one of my favorite philosophers, and when it comes to disorders it’s never easy to write about it in the open it takes courage, I can see you find catharsis in your writing. Happy blogging and all the best to you!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • So I don’t know how to message you or anything, but you just Liked one of my blog posts and I have no idea why. No one ever reads my blog, and on top of that it wasn’t a very good post. I’m terribly curious as to how you stumbled on my blog and whatnot.

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      • Thanks for stopping by!! Truth be told I really just scour the blogosphere and look at other blogs randomly some days, I find myself having moments of pretty deep introspection at work too I’m content some moments but I’m in the midst of something of an eternal existential crisis it seems. And when it comes to going clean, I know that’s nothing easy don’t ask me how I just do I’ve seen things, but I really hope you’re able to find your peace and meaning in life and I hope you find some sense of meaning through writing and finding the positives in life and building from them, I’ve found writing to be incredibly therapeutic. I wish you nothing but the best and I hope you’re able to get past the darkness

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  2. Your writing style is reaaalllly great, and I really hope you get your manuscript published because I would love to read more of your work. I think your posts are very relevant, and you do need more audience!
    Will be sharing your work as often as I can.
    It’s nice to see talented fellow bloggers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your kind and supportive words!! I’m hopeful that I can get an agent during my next round of querying, I feel that my story is now falling into a more acceptable word count range for a first time novelist. Every new fan is a blessing thank you so much, I enjoyed your piece “In Memory” as well that was tremendous whatever your writing goals are I hope you are able to reach them all that was a very moving piece of writing, thanks once more for your kind comment and happy blogging!! 🙂

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  3. You write well. As a Christian I wonder if the image of Sisyphus pushing a rock up hill is an apt metaphor for a life separate from God. Before I became a Christian I pushed harder, all the time. At times it was probably for the sake of being active. I find it hard to sit still for 5 minutes. But now I am learning to serve the Kingdom. That requires pushing, pulling, waiting (you name it), but in the midst of my challenges I am not alone, unlike poor Sisyphus. Go well.

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  4. Love that you reflect as you do. It causes me to question such as what does it mean to be productive. I read recently in a Don Citt book that the individual veing productive is a platonic concept that has been adopted as part of western reasoning. Is it what is leading our world into oblivion. The other question is can language grasp the truth. Thank You

    Liked by 1 person

    • Interesting perspective to take, always two sides to a coin. I can’t say I know quite what the world needs or all that you truly mean but I often feel it hard to put the truth into words as I’m never quite certain there’s an objective truth to be spoken, but we’ll never stop pursuing it nonetheless, thank you so much for your kind and thoughtful comment and all the best to you 🙂

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  5. Excellent and timely piece. You may, or may have not noticed, my blog is an on again, off again work in progress. I really want to keep the “on again” part going in perpetuity. You see, I love writing and the only way for me to get better at it is to practise (and read) on a regular basis. Your post reminded me that my “productive purpose” in writing on a regular basis, is simply for improvement. I shall not worry about what comes next, because it will come whether I worry about it or not. And, as far as improvement and productivity goes, I believe, we cannot be trying to improve and be productive all the time. When you say, “That I shouldn’t just be doing things for the sake of doing things.” I think there is a time and a place for even that in our lives.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I believe you’re correct that there’s a time and place for even that in our lives, I was in a certain mood and mode when I’d written this particular post there’s certainly a time and place for it all no disagreement there!! And I’m happy to hear you love writing and I agree we can only improve through practice and persistence and I wish you nothing but the best on your writing journey happy blogging to you!! 🙂

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  6. That was a very thoughtful and heartfelt piece. It reminded me of a quote I once read from a late 19th/early 20th-century religious leader, Mary Baker Eddy: “Rushing around smartly is no proof of accomplishing much.” Occasional introspection and thought-taking can be very useful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for the kind comment!! I’ve not heard that Mary Baker Eddy quote before very much so in line with my perspective here thank you so much for sharing, happy blogging to you thanks for dropping by!! 🙂

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    • Thank you for your kind comment!! I know that I need to take these types of moments from time to time to accurately assess whether or not I’m taking the necessary steps to fulfilling the visions I have for my future and I wish you nothing but success in your own thank you once again 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Hemingway has some of the best quotes. I think self-reflection in the midst of momentum is a healthy thing. Once you’ve started taking action second-guessing is usually a brief moment. It’s people who are struggling to get any sort of real action in their lives that should beware second-guessing too much.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I agree completely, it should only be for as long as it needs to be to fully validate that you’re making progress. And if you feel a revised approach is necessary, then you can follow through on a new path towards your goal with a renewed clarity. It’s true it’s when over-thinking and constantly second-guessing causes you to never take any action that you get caught in a dangerous loop, thank you so much for the comment!!

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  8. Well said!
    The longer that I write, the more I find myself very familiar with this feeling. I’m discovering the intense need to set deadlines to make myself do things. As it is, it’s so easy to just slip into inactivity.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. You’re not the only one, Oscar! It’s so easy to get caught up in doing and, especially when we’re moving quickly, it’s probably a good idea to see which direction we’re going in. Action and reflection work best together. As Peter F. Drucker said, “Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.”
    And when it comes to doubt, I think Voltaire made a lot of sense: “Doubt is an uncomfortable condition but certainty is a ridiculous one.” However, that said, I think there’s little doubt that you should be writing, you have a beautiful way with words and write about interesting, engaging subjects.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Very happy to know these feelings are shared!! And whoa awesome quotes thank you so much for the share!! Voltaire always blows my mind that man was a genius, it’s true and it feels especially difficult to feel certain when it comes to creative outlets like writing, thank you so much for the encouragement it means a lot to me, and thank you so much for the comment all the best to you and happy blogging!! 🙂

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      • You’re very welcome, Oscar! And thank you, I’ve had a very long blogging break and am so happy to be back! You’re right, truth is subjective at the best of times and creative endeavours are always totally subjective. Very tricky! I guess we can only express our authentic selves as best we can and leave the rest to the reader. As you like Voltaire, here’s another brilliant quote, given to my youngest daughter by my lovely Mum this morning:

        “Each player must accept the cards life deals him. But once they are in hand, he alone must decide how to play the cards in order to win the game.”

        Liked by 1 person

      • Another beautiful quote wow Voltaire was a wise man! I’ve had a long blogging break as well but I do plan on returning to blogging more regularly, happy to know you’re back into blogging it’s a great release!!

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  10. Appreciated your dropping by to visit my brand new CILLYart4U.wordpress.com blog…and giving me the opportunity to read yours, Oscar. Yes, it is important to reflect on the direction you are going and to evaluate if that is where you want to be. This is important for all of us, religious/faith-filled people or not…I am one of the faith-filled and going forward with faith. 😉

    Thanks for sharing your great perspective, Oscar!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I hear your wisdom. You are talking about self awareness, conscious decision making and ones ability to bring compassion and loving kindness into ones own life, right? Action and inaction both have consequences. Awareness is the bridge between movement and action.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for reading, I would say that’s a very accurate interpretation of what I’m getting at, and that’s very eloquently put there your last sentence with regards to awareness thank you so much for this insightful comment!! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    • No problem at all thanks for dropping by my blog too!! Cool story interesting family dynamic playing out with the mother being ashamed of her daughter for her having a divorce, the daughter feeling relief that no children had to be involved in a divorce, feeling a strange resentment/admiration for her mother’s successful relationship with her father lots of plotlines to work with there I enjoyed it thanks for sharing!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well, see the end in the last post and I will be going backwards in their family dynamic- pushing myself to see where and how the story goes. Forwards is always easier – backwards never . Keep reading and sharing. Thank you.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Thanks for stopping by my blogsite. You raise some interesting points here.
    My father instilled in me the philosophy of, “If you have to kill time, then work it to death.” To that I have added my own; “True happiness comes not by self-indulgence or greediness or the collection of things with which to please myself, but by finding someone everyday that I can bless by my actions or gifts to them.”
    God has blessed me with many talents for a reason. The more that I use those talents in uplifting others, the happier and more fulfilled I become.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Beautiful perspective!! I agree if you’re blessed with capabilities you should try to use them to better the world around you, that’s a very noble goal you have I admire it and I wish you nothing but the best in your pursuit of uplifting others!! 🙂

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    • I agree I don’t mean to go all the way in this post to the perspective that movement itself never evolves into action, I do believe that. It’s just those moments where you realize you’re only spinning your wheels in life, and never quite in hot pursuit of who you truly want to become, that you need to recognize those moments and remedy the situation accordingly in your own carefully crafted way. I do think that we don’t become who we want to become overnight, it takes time, it takes steps. I hear you entirely, I don’t mean to create a sense of overthinking your route to what you desire just do what must be done and realize your dreams, that’s the gist and heart of what I’m getting at thank you for your kind comment!! 🙂

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  13. Well as many have said, you’re not alone, and your piece is well written. I think that we need the pauses and that stillness can have it’s own purposefulness, and movement, it’s own emptiness, and action can become so directed towards an end point, that it loses the meaning of the journey. But yes, we must keep on striving!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re right there’s any number of ways to view everything but the real heart of what I’m getting at is that we need to not lose sight of what we really want in life, and that we shouldn’t let ourselves get sidetracked, and you’re right that we need to not lose with the moments leading up to a goal as we strive for that goal, thank you so much for reading!!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I cant believe i have missed your thought provoking blogs ,Ernest Hemmingway Has to have been my Favorite author it has been a real pleasure reading your latest blog has been a real pick me up when i have been struggling a wee bit lately Thankyou for stopping by i would never have had the pleasure to read your awsome blog and that would have been a real crime x

    Liked by 1 person

    • What kind words thank you so much!! It’s nice to know people have found a connection with things I’ve written, I just try to find my own way in life and put into words what I’m going through and seeing that other people are struggling with similar problems really helps me and I’m very happy what I’ve written has helped you out too it’s a nice mutually beneficial experience blogging. Thank you so much for stopping by too it’s awesome to interact with other bloggers happy blogging and I wish you all the best!!

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  15. I admired Hemingway’s zest for life as well, and loved teaching “The Old Man and the Sea” to my students. However, I appreciate the balance you advocate in your blog. We need to slow down and breathe occasionally, really think about our lives, or we may find ourselves on the same sad path where Hemingway ended.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your comment Old Man and the Sea was a great story.. I agree it does seem that Hemingway’s path was overall a destructive one, I do believe that we need to be willing to live on the edge and live an authentic life, but ultimately many of Hemingway’s decisions lead him down a dark path and we need to be careful not to let ourselves get caught in that type of cycle. And you’re absolutely right about what I was getting at we need to examine our lives and make certain we are making true progress towards our dreams and not just spinning our wheels, thank you so much once again for stopping by!!

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  16. Oh dear this isn’t fair how do u do this … I mean its my state scooped out here I always determine to do same but eventually I succeed but long term its a fail fail for me 😦 sorry but this isn’t fair yet awwwwsome at same time to be empathetic at same time

    Liked by 2 people

    • You just need to keep at it I do my best to interact with as many bloggers as I can and I find that that tends to be the best route to getting good feedback, don’t think long term fail fail you need to think about the victories at the end of it all and keep positive if you’re not getting the results you want you just need to re-think an approach and then proceed with greater audacity and that goes for all things in life. I’ve been blogging for a while now and I don’t blog a lot but I try to interact a lot and I focus on the interaction with people more than anything else, keep positive 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dear Oscar I just wrote what I felt … Isn’t fair was just an expression plzz don’t take me wrong I know all fail success is part of life but some total down phases demean my existence I mean to say staying positive always is I try to do but….. Sometimes it doesn’t happen sometimes the phase is like that you understanding what I mean …. I hope u understand

        Thanks for replying dear god bless you write more often your posts I feel are somewhere part of me in a large elaborative form

        Liked by 1 person

      • No no worries I’m not taking in any negative way haha I understand honestly I get where you’re coming from entirely, and I do want to keep posting more regularly now it’s just that it’s difficult for me to be as all in with my blog as I work a lot and I’m very very busy at work, but I do plan on keeping this blog up to date and I’m very happy that you feel that way about my posts it’s great to hear positive feedback like that it helps me keep going thanks once again God bless to you as well 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Work keeps me busy too but can I tell u one secret …. This blogging and writing n interacting keep me alive n breathing my dear …. U know there is a special charm in people who I write ….. And you have got that charm my dear friend

        Liked by 1 person

  17. Oscar,
    i trust you are continuing to write. How fortunate we are, as conscious human beings, to have such large brains with the ability to act or react to the world around us. It seems as though Hemingway, had a code of living. That was he introspected, analyzed, and thought hard about life. We can all learn a lesson from his discipline, thought, and control. We do not live in nature like our ancient ancestors, so we can spend less time reacting and can instead act for success!

    I am grateful to be living in this Great Technological Revolution Age where we bring advancements to the markets at rapid speeds which affords more people, worldwide, to increase their standard of living. We also have the internet which can create smarter people worldwide and when we learn to integrate our thinking instead of following tradition, we always have more knowledge, and, often more material goods as well. Human beings rock!

    Cheers to you and your blog! I love to blog too! We touch the hearts of people worldwide with communication through metaphors and analogies and we know we are human not like the other animals when they respond! Keep rockin’ it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for the kind and supportive comment!! I am very much so continuing to write it’s not always easy for me to blog and keep up with the blogosphere but I’m always in the process of writing something, and I’ve worked my book down to a size that I think an agent at a conference may take a chance on me. Thank you so much for your support!! Very interesting perspective there with how our ancestors always had to react to new threats and never really got to experience comfort and security long enough to plan and deeply think out their life plan beyond the immediate coming moments. Humanity does rock haha for all the faults that humanity has the blistering pace of progress in the last century or so is something unprecedented and though there are ups and downs life overall is much much easier with all the creative new products and services people have produced. Thank you once again cheers to you as well!! Happy blogging!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Enjoyed reading this piece. As you noted, hesitating isn’t good for “He who hesitates is lost.” However, I’m finding there is a “dynamic waiting” for action which is most clearly seen as one witnesses the orchestra member manning the symbols, waits, waits and waits again to take the defining action to clash the symbols at the exact moment producing a sound that would normally be startling or nerve wracking, yet, because of “timing” becomes a majestic vibration ushering in the conclusion to a symphonic production.

    This thought brings to mind the following poem.

    O power to do; O baffled will!
    O prayer and action! ye are one.
    Who may not strive, may yet fulfill
    The harder task of standing still,
    And good but wished with God is done.

    J. G. WHITTIER.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow this is a tremendous comment thank you so much for your perspective!! The timing is everything very important point to note, and that’s a very interesting poem I’ve never heard it before “The harder task of standing still” very interesting line, it can be hard to wait for the proper moment to take the timely action towards which all else culminates, food for thought thank you so much for your insightful words!!!

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  19. Absolutely! Movement is not always action. I love Hemingway. And your way with words, absolutely beautiful. And yes, I believe we all at some point in our lives, stop and ponder, is it worth it. I enjoyed this. thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love Hemingway too and thank you so much for the wonderful compliment it feels great to get feedback like this!! I do believe we need to stay focused on our goals and not get lost in the motion of everyday life and monotony, I stop and wonder very often and I hope that I revise my approach appropriately to get where I need to get going. I’m very happy you enjoyed this you’re more than welcome indeed thank you so much for reading my post!!!

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  20. Thanks so much for commenting on my blog post–every pat on the back helps. I enjoy your work as well. Writing is such a lonely endeavor at times (not to mention fraught with “will anyone like this”, “is it good”,and “who cares”) that it’s like a cool drink on a hot day when someone tells you you’ve touched them in some fashion. Gracias,amigo.

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    • Thank you for dropping by an commenting on my blog too!! Writing really is a lonely endeavor it’s great to get that pat back in reply, that was a terrific metaphor and especially timely since it’s just started to get warmer again around where I live haha muchas gracias to you as well happy blogging!! 🙂

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  21. Thank you for liking my post. I loved your post and… Yes the moments of quiet reflection are something we all need but often do not make time for. Yet actions not reflected upon can end up going nowhere or worse having us repeat endlessly the same mistakes. Many years ago when i was doing my teacher training, we were advised to keep a reflection journal so that things that went right (or wrong) in the classroom could be jotted down throughout the day on one side of the page and at night we could reflect upon them and see if we could learn from them… and jot notes on the other side of the page.
    This is actually not bad advice and the idea of a journal for reflection is a most useful one….. even if it does not get used every day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your kind comment!! That’s honestly a very good idea I need to start up something in a similar vein, I often do a “freewrite” before I go to bed at night where I just let a lot of thoughts flow out and I sometimes make note of things I could have done better on a separate sheet of paper, but this information sometimes gets lost as my organizing skills are not optimized as they should be, a journal for reflection sounds like a very good and organized approach one which I very well might have to adopt thank you so much once again for your informative comment and thank you for reading!! 🙂

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  22. Lovely post! Though I do have a comment. I believe that you can perform actions that feel purposeful without ethics; in other words, there are people who perform selfish actions who believe they have the greatest intentions. In which case, I would disagree that they should simply carry on. I believe that one finds a greater purpose through self-reflection and occasional check-ins with others, working collaboratively, and allowing for a collective purpose to take shape. A good balance between personal projects like blogs, and collaborative ones is probably the best course of action; in my opinion, that is.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Very thought through perspective!! I agree that the whole is in the end what is most important and we should all do our best to collaborate and create a productive collective purpose, and that in the end we must strike a balance so we in seeking to help others we simultaneously create value for ourselves as individuals which in the end is productive for the whole, I think I’m articulating what I mean all right I’m not positive haha you know what I mean in the end we must strike the proper balance thank you so much for the kind comment!!

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  23. I read somewhere – I think it was in National Geographic – that studies showed that the survivors of disasters were the ones that moved; the ones that did something, anything. Reading your post got me wondering about that. In the face of a crisis, is it better to hesitate? To plan, to observe, and then once set on an action, to move with determination? Or is there value in simply moving – perhaps without direction or purpose at first, but simply to move in the hope that the meaning or path will appear? If one opts for the determined approach, is there a risk of never moving at all?

    I’m all ‘Type A’, and I can’t remember who said it, but I agree that ‘all human evil comes from this – man’s being unable to sit still in a room’. For me, the National Geographic article was exactly what I needed to justify my honeybee existence; buzzing all over the place just to be doing something, and hoping I’ll stumble on the flowers. Sometimes it’s paid off, other times it’s been a road to nothing. Somewhere out there is a middle ground; a balance between energetic exploration and setting a clear course to where I need – and want – to go, even if it’s the horizon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re entirely right, I do believe that movement can bleed into action and that it’s often best to trust your instincts within a moment like that. More than anything else, I’m just saying that we need to be careful about complacency cloaked in motion, where we think we’re getting closer to our goals and dreams when in reality we aren’t taking effective actions to get us closer to what we aspire to achieve in life. You’re definitely right about a middle ground where you feel free to roam and get going while also having some type of course to guide you, a balance I am trying ever so desperately to strike. Thank you for such a thoughtful comment and for taking the time to read and comment on my post all the best to you!! 🙂

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