until one is committed

Printed on a folded sheet of line-less paper, tucked in various scribbled-in notebooks with aimless musings over the years, these words carried me through every commitment thus far, and reminded me why some things did not work out.

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. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and 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 “Goethe couplet” referred to here is from an extremely loose translation of Goethe’s Faust lines 214-30 made by John Anster in 1835.[2]

W. H. Murray