Do you want to know who you are?...(Quotation)

Quotation: "Do you want to know who you are? Don't ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you."

Variations: None known.

Sources consulted: Searching on the phrase "do you want to know who you are"

  1. Monticello website
  2. Ford's Works of Thomas Jefferson
  3. UVA EText Jefferson Digital Archive: Jeffersonian Cyclopedia, Thomas Jefferson on Politics and Government, Texts by or to Thomas Jefferson from the Modern English Collection
  4. Thomas Jefferson Retirement Papers

Earliest known appearance in print: 1988[1] [2]

Earliest known appearance in print, attributed to Thomas Jefferson: 2003[3]

Other attributions: Witold Gombrowicz (1904-1969), Polish writer

Status: We currently have no evidence to confirm that Thomas Jefferson ever said or wrote, "Do you want to know who you are? Don't ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you." This can be unequivocally attributed to Witold Gombrowicz. How it came to be attributed to Thomas Jefferson is unclear.

Footnotes

  1. Witold Gombrowicz, 1988: Diary, Vol. II (Chicago: Northwestern University Press, 1988), 130.
  2. To establish the earliest appearance of this phrase in print, the following sources were searched for the phrase, "Do you want to know who you are? Don't ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.": Google Books, Google Scholar, Amazon.com, Internet Archive, JSTOR.
  3. Hubert K. Rampersad, Total Performance Scorecard: Redefining Management to Achieve Performance with Integrity (Butterworth-Heinemann, 2003), 99.

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