“Google, aw Google. Why do you do this to me?” It starts out simply enough. Usually it begins with a thought that preambles something like, “I just want to find out who…” And three hours later, I know about duck sex and vintage clothing trends, but not the actual thing I was looking for in the first place.

Finding citations for quotes is one of the worst rabbit holes you can go down. It is easy peasy finding any number of quotes. In fact, it is easy peasy finding the same quote attributed to many different people! That’s the problem. Who said it? Where did they say it? In what context? One of my favorite websites dedicated to fake quotes is Fake Buddha Quotes. Also, as an intrepid (albeit often thwarted) investigator of quote sources, let me just tell you that nearly every quote attributed to George Carlin isn’t one of his quotes. You’re welcome.

Don’t ask, just don’t ask “who said that?” But I do ask, I do. And at the end of the day I’ll sit and stare blankly at my monitor. I will look at my daily list of things I was supposed to have done, but didn’t. “Where did the day go? I should Google it!”

Today’s chase-my-tail search came from seeing the quote “Act the way you want to be and soon you will be the way you act.” I saw it first attributed to Iyanla Vanzant, and I wanted to know from which of her books it came. To the Google search!

That quickly brought up several other people that said that thing. The key contenders, which didn’t include Vanzant, are Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan. Maybe Les Brown. Maybe a few other people.

I’m going to give this one to Leonard, based on hours of studious research (that included articles about duck sex). Like I’m the expert that can bestow the honors, but then, it is the Internet so I suppose I have as much expertise as the next guy. The quote appears to have come out of an interview, and the topic was self-actualization. The trouble is, I can’t find the actual interview (name of publication, date, etc.) Who knows, Leonard could have been quoting Dylan! Yeesh.

The reason for this investigatory angst is because I saw the quote, and I wanted to make a blog post about it (just not this particular post about the annoyances of Google searching quotes).

Do I believe the quote? I don’t know. It is a tentative “yes.” I know that the way our brains are wired that just by smiling, even if you feel like crap, your brain will start to process “smile” and your mood can lift—with visible brain function and chemistry changes. (I would cite the study, but that would be another foray into Google, and I just can’t! I love you guys, but I just can’t!) Then again, this seems too simplistic, too pat. This seems related to, but different from “fake it until you make it.”

“Act the way you’d like to be and soon you’ll be the way you act.”

Do YOU believe the quote? I don’t normally pose questions for my readers, but I’d be really interested in your takes on this quote, down below in the comments.

There were many articles containing Cohen’s quotes, commemorating his death. One was in NME.

While you are pondering (or not), “Act the way you’d like to be and soon you’ll be the way you act” I will dance you to the end* with one of my favorite Cohen songs:

*see what I did there?


  1. I guess it’s self evident that if you really do act like you’d like to be, then that is (now) you isn’t it ? Or at least that’s the way you will be perceived to be – assuming people see what you want them to see of course and don’t take into account of any previous behaviour (maybe?) Gosh, this is getting complicated… Whatever, I’m not a fan of Mr Cohen I’m afraid. Sorry!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Heh. I long ago discovered that you and I have divergent tastes in music. I’m not a die-hard fan of his, in that I love everything he’s ever done, but I do love some of his things, including Famous Blue Raincoat, obviously. He’s an acquired taste, like Tom Waits.

      And yes, it does get complicated if you drill down on the whole act/be thing. I do think you have hit upon something, and that is the difference between how you are perceived to be now just by doing the “thing” and then truly being the “thing.”

      Take kindness for example. Maybe someone isn’t all that inclined towards it, but decides to change. He acts kind, slowly at first, hesitantly. People will perceive him to be “kind” or “kinder” perhaps, but at first it is more of an act of will. He’s done kind things but can’t really be considered kind in general. But with practice eventually kindness becomes his default.

      I dunno. It is early in the morning without coffee yet. Thanks for playing along.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Interesting topic, I wasn’t aware of the quote but it got me thinking. True that quotes are often attributed to several famous people, I guess they quote the original and then people assume they had created it. The poem that ends, “We’re the ones we’ve been waiting for” has been credited to Obama, Mandela, Williamson etc but was written by an anonymous Hopi tribe leader.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the interesting bit about the “we’re the ones we’ve been waiting for” quote! I almost always do an attribution search because they are so often wrong!


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