Quotations about   commitment

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Historians have a word for Germans who joined the Nazi party, not because they hated Jews, but out of a hope for restored patriotism, or a sense of economic anxiety, or a hope to preserve their religious values, or dislike of their opponents, or raw political opportunism, or convenience, or ignorance, or greed.

That word is “Nazi.” Nobody cares about their motives any more.

They joined what they joined. They lent their support and their moral approval. And, in so doing, they bound themselves to everything that came after. Who cares any more what particular knot they used in the binding?

Andrew R. Moxon (contemp.) American writer, critic [a.k.a. Julius Goat]
Blogspot (16 Jan 2017)
    (Source)

Frequently mis-attributed to Twitter, where Moxxon also posts under his @JuliusGoat handle. The original Julius Goat Blogspot site is no longer online.
Added on 14-Nov-18 | Last updated 14-Nov-18
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Never strike a king unless you are sure you shall kill him.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
Journal (Sep. 1843)
    (Source)

In addition to the noted source, see also here. However, according to the reliable Ralph Keyes, the quotation is spurious. Keyes also suggests an inspiration from the 17th Century English proverb, "Whosoever draws his sword against the prince must throw the scabbard away."

A variant, "When you strike at a king you must kill him," is attributed to Emerson by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., in Max Lerner, The Mind and Faith of Justice Holmes (1943).
Added on 31-Jul-18 | Last updated 31-Jul-18
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Nobody ever knows the whole truth. That’s why promises mean something. Otherwise they’d be too easy, don’t you see? We look toward the unknown future and promise to be faithful no matter what comes.

Claudia Gray (contemp.) American writer [pseud. of Amy Vincent]
Lost Stars (2015)
Added on 27-Feb-17 | Last updated 27-Feb-17
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Take a book, the poorest one written, but read it with the passion that it is the only book you will read — ultimately you will read everything out of it, that is, as much as there was in yourself, and you could never get more out of reading, even if you read the best of books.

Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) Danish philosopher, theologian
Stages on Life’s Way (1845)
Added on 25-Jan-17 | Last updated 25-Jan-17
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The old saying holds. Owe your banker £1000 and you are at his mercy; owe him £1 million and the position is reversed.

John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946) English economist
“Overseas Financial Policy in Stage III” (15 May 1945)

Unpublished memo distributed to the British Cabinet. Variant: "If you owe your bank a hundred pounds, you have a problem. But if you owe a million, it has."
Added on 20-Dec-16 | Last updated 20-Dec-16
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Take sides! Always take sides! You will sometimes be wrong — but the man who refuses to take sides must always be wrong! Heaven save us from poltroons who fear to make a choice.

heinlein-take-sides-always-take-sides-wist_info-quote

Robert A. Heinlein (1909-1988) American writer
Double Star (1956)
Added on 10-Oct-16 | Last updated 10-Oct-16
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To live bravely by convictions from which the free peoples of the world can take heart, the American people must put their faith in long-range policies — political, economic, and military — programs that will not be heated and cooled with the brightening and waning of tensions. The United States has matured to world leadership; it is time we steered by the stars, not by the lights of each passing ship.

Omar Bradley (1893-1981) American general
Speech, Memorial Day, Longmeadow, Mass. (31 May 1948)
Added on 4-Feb-16 | Last updated 4-Feb-16
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My dad had once told me that the secret to a happy life was never to start something with a girl unless you were willing to follow wherever it leads. It’s the best piece of advice he’s ever given me and probably the reason I was born.

Ben Aaronovitch (b. 1964) British author
Rivers of London [Midnight Riot] (2011)
Added on 28-Oct-15 | Last updated 28-Oct-15
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What makes a plan capable of producing results is the commitment of key people to work on specific tasks.

Peter F. Drucker (1909-2005) Austrian-American business consultant
Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices, ch. 8 (1977 ed.)
Added on 30-Jun-15 | Last updated 24-Jun-15
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Never threaten, because a threat is a promise to pay that it isn’t always convenient to meet, but if you don’t make it good it hurts your credit.

George Horace Lorimer (1867-1937) American journalist, author, magazine editor
Letters from a Self-Made Merchant to His Son (1901)
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Added on 25-Jun-15 | Last updated 15-Oct-15
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Always appoint an hour at which you’ll see a man, and if he’s late a minute don’t bother with him. A fellow who can be late when his own interests are at stake is pretty sure to be when yours are.

George Horace Lorimer (1867-1937) American journalist, author, magazine editor
Letters from a Self-Made Merchant to His Son (1901)
Added on 15-Jul-14 | Last updated 15-Oct-15
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Be careful of your word, even in keeping the most trifling appointment. But do not blame another for a failure of that kind till you have heard his excuse.

James Burgh (1714-1775) British politician and writer
The Dignity of Human Nature, Sec. 5 “Miscellaneous Thoughts on Prudence in Conversation” (1754)
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Added on 10-Jul-14 | Last updated 10-Jul-14
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If you aren’t in over your head, how do you know how tall you are?

T. S. Eliot (1888-1965) American-British poet, critic, playwright [Thomas Stearns Eliot]
(Attributed)
Added on 19-Jun-14 | Last updated 19-Jun-14
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Frank O’Connor, the Irish writer, tells in one of his books how, as a boy, he and his friends would make their way across the countryside, and when they came to an orchard wall that seemed too high and too doubtful to try and too difficult to permit their voyage to continue, they took off their hats and tossed them over the wall — and then they had no choice but to follow them. This Nation has tossed its cap over the wall of space, and we have no choice but to follow it.

John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) US President (1961-63)
Speech, San Antonio, TX (21 Nov 1963)
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Added on 2-Jun-14 | Last updated 2-Jun-14
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He who does not punish evil commands it to be done.

Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) Italian artist, engineer, scientist
Note-books (1508-1518)
Added on 3-Jan-14 | Last updated 8-Jan-15
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Beyond a certain point there is no return. This point has to be reached.

[Von einem gewissen Punkt an gibt es keine Rückkehr mehr. Dieser Punkt ist zu erreichen.]

Franz Kafka (1883-1924) Czech-Austrian Jewish writer
Notebook, Aphorism #5 [tr. Kaiser and Wilkins]
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    Alt. trans.:
  • From a certain point onward there is no longer any turning back. That is the point that must be reached.
  • There is a point of no return. This point has to be reached.
Added on 10-Dec-13 | Last updated 10-Dec-13
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You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do.

Henry Ford (1863-1947) American industrialist
(Attributed)
Added on 24-Jul-13 | Last updated 17-Jun-16
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It is a human inclination to hope things will work out, despite evidence or doubt to the contrary. A successful manager must resist this temptation. This is particularly hard if one has invested much time and energy on a project and thus has come to feel possessive about it. Although it is not easy to admit what a person once thought correct now appears to be wrong, one must discipline himself to face the facts objectively and make the necessary changes — regardless of the consequences to himself. The man in charge must personally set the example in this respect. He must be able, in effect, to “kill his own child” if necessary and must require his subordinates to do likewise.

Hyman Rickover (1900-1986) US Navy Admiral
(Attributed)

Quoted in T. Rockwell, The Rickover Effect (1992)

Added on 11-Aug-08 | Last updated 9-May-14
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There is no greater mistake than to try to leap an abyss in two jumps.

David Lloyd George (1863-1945) Welsh politician, statesman, UK Prime Minister (1916-22)
War Memoirs of David Lloyd George, Vol. 2, ch. 24 (1933)

Not original with Lloyd George, but usually attributed to him. For more information, see here. Variants:
  • "Don’t be afraid to take a big step. You can’t cross a chasm in two small jumps."
  • "The most dangerous thing in the world is to leap a chasm in two jumps."
  • "Anything can be achieved in small, deliberate steps. But there are times you need the courage to take a great leap; you can't cross a chasm in two small jumps."
  • "There is nothing more dangerous than to leap a chasm in two jumps."
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 5-May-16
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The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most common form, of its innate violence. To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything is to succumb to violence.

Thomas Merton (1915-1968) French-American religious and writer [a.k.a. Fr. M. Louis]
“Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander”
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 21-Oct-14
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