Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a celebrity of his time, often called Germany's Shakespeare. That's him on the left in the picture above--a writer, statesman, scientist, and more.

You can read his history at Wikipedia. At Inc., we're interested in what we can learn from accomplished people so we can accomplish more ourselves (at least I am).

In that context, I present to you what I find one of the most inspirational quotes you'll find. And I mean inspirational, meaning it will lead you to act, not how most people mean it, as in not leading to action.

People attribute it to Goethe, but if you look it up you'll find someone mistranslated Goethe and others added to the mistranslation in a whisper-down-the-lane effect.

Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back.

Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that 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 favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.

This quote has helped me act more than any other. It's never led me astray. While acting too soon or thoughtlessly can create problems, and everyone's results will be unique, it works for me. I often use it when interviewers ask me for top quotes.

My interpretation

Please interpret it as benefits you best. As for me, it tells me that when you commit, resources appear out of the blue that you never could have predicted. Therefore, analysis before taking initiative can never suffice.

Sometimes you have to act. Strike that. You always have to act to find what potential you and your project have.

Maybe the biggest resource that arises when you start a project is that people help you.

Why do people start helping you when you start a project?

I think that people want dreams to happen. Most people are afraid to try theirs since, if they don't work out, they may have to give up on their dreams.

When they see you acting on yours, they'd rather help you achieve yours than play no role in any dreams coming true.

The rest of the quote

There are two lines at the end of the quote that I dislike for sounding too new age-y, or something like that. Many people like the last parts most, so I'll include them.

I can't put my finger on what about them I disconnect from the above. You can connect them if you like.

Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.

Your turn

Now it's your turn. What choice are you holding off acting on?