George Bernard Shaw? Puck? Saxby’s Magazine? Elbert Hubbard? Confucius? Anonymous?

Dear Quote Investigator: The complying with adage is the perfect antidote to excessive negativity and obstructionism:

People who say it cannot be done must not interrupt those that are doing it.

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These words are frequently attributed to Eastern sage Confucius and to the acasserted playwideal George Bernard Shaw; unfortunately, I have not been able to find any kind of solid data to earlier up this insurance claim. Would you please trace this quotation?

Quote Investigator: QI has uncovered no substantive assistance for the ascriptions to Confucius and Shaw.

QI hypothesizes that the modern-day expression evolved from a comment around the rapidity of readjust and also innovation at the rotate of the century that was published in the humor magazine “Puck” in December 1902. Emphasis added to excerpts: 1

Things move along so rapidly nowadays that people saying: “It can’t be done,” are always being interrupted by somebody doing it.

Multiple newspapers and journals reprinted the renote in 1903. One circumstances appeared on March 7, 1903 in a periodical called “The Public” based in Chicearlier, Illinois. An acknowledgment to the humor magazine “Puck” was appended: 2

Things relocate alengthy so swiftly nowadays that world saying: “It can’t be done,” are constantly being interrupted by somebody doing it.—Puck.

On March 13, 1903 an circumstances was publimelted in “The Evansville Courier” of Evansville, Indiana with an acknowledgement to “Saxby’s Magazine”. The statements above and listed below were both printed as filler items without added contextual information: 3

Some thinker takes time to renote that things relocate alengthy so rapidly nowadays that human being that say “It can’t be done,” are always being interrupted by somebody doing it.—Saxby’s Magazine.

In April 1903 a journal for educators and parental fees dubbed “Kindergarten Magazine” printed an circumstances that precisely matched the statement in “The Public”. The “Puck” acknowledgement was included: 4

Throughout the following years the expression was reshaped. In 1914 a charismatic aphorism constructor named Elbert Hubbard published a variant in his journal “The Philistine”, however he disasserted authorship. By 1962 a pseucarry out Confucian version had actually been fabricated, and by 2004 a variation attributed to George Bernard Shaw was circulating.

Further citations in chronological order are given listed below.

In 1911 the “Aberdeen Daily American” newspaper of Aberdeen, South Dakota referred to the saying without attribution: 5

Anyway, people that say a thing can’t be done are interrupted by someone else doing it. So do not be one to say “I can’t.”

In May 1914 Elbert Hubbard publiburned an write-up mentioning human being explorers in the journal he edited called “The Philistine: A Periodical of Protest”. The adhering to variant of the saying differed from many instances because the opportunity of accomplishing the complex job was not denied. Instead, plans were being formulated prior to an interruption occurred: 6

Some one has actually said that we are moving so quick that as soon as plans are being made to perform some great feat, these plans are damaged right into by a youth who enters and also says, “I have actually done it.”

The locution “Some one has said” supplied over signaled that Hubbard was not taking crmodify for the renote. However, instances were regularly attributed to him. For example, in 1915 an advertisement published in “The Democrat-Forum” newspaper of Maryville, Missouri attributed Hubbard: 7

The people is moving so fast now-a-days that the male who says it cannot be done is primarily interrupted by someone else doing it.—Elbert Hubbard.

In 1924 “The Washington Post” printed a concise variation of the adage without attribution: 8

This calls to mind that well known Amerideserve to saying that “The guy who claims it can’t be done is constantly being interrupted by somebody doing it.”

In 1940 the students at Sul Ross State Teachers College publimelted a miscellaneous set of sayings that had the adhering to circumstances without ascription: 9

The male who starts to say it can’t be done is regularly interrupted by somebody else doing it.

The link to Hubbard was not forobtained. In 1949 the laborious compiler Evan Esar had the following remark attributed to Hubbard in “The Thesaurus of Humorous Quotations”: 10

The civilization is relocating so rapid these days that the guy that claims it can’t be done is mainly interrupted by someone doing it.

In 1962 a periodical around adult education and learning titled “Adult Leadership” published an expression making use of the template “Confucius say: Man who. . .”. This format has frequently been used for jokes and witticisms unconnected to the actual sayings of Confucius. This instance provided the expression “must not interrupt” which showed up in the modern-day saying under investigation: 11

THOUGHTS WHILE SHAVING:Confucius say: Man who say it cannot be done, must not interrupt male doing it. . . How’s that for an excellent adult education and learning motto? Aren’t tright here several times that motto can be used?

In 1974 a letter from advocates of solar energy was contained in the publimelted document of a UNITED STATE Senate Hearing. The adage was ascribed to Confucius: 12

Corporate leaders and also many researchers say, “According to the present ‘state of the art,’ Solar Energy is extremely imhandy at this time.”

Confucius say, “Man who claims it cannot be done need to not interrupt man doing it.”

In 1977 “The Marietta Daily Journal” of Marietta, Georgia labeled the remark an “old Chinese proverb”: 13

Tright here is an old Chinese proverb that claims, “Man that say it cannot be done must not interrupt guy doing it.”

In 1996 a humorous version contrasted the actions of a guy and also a woman: 14

A copy of a Chinese proverb hangs on the door: “Man that claims it cannot be done have to not interrupt woguy doing it.”

By 2004 an instance had been reassigned to the well known Irish playwideal George Bernard Shaw in a history book around the Smithsonian: 15

Shaw was additionally a master at crystallizing excellent thoughts through pointed expressions such as:

“Youth is wasted on the young.”

“When a guy claims money can carry out anypoint, that settles it. He hasn’t got any.”

“People that say it cannot be done should not interrupt those that are doing it.”

In conclusion, the earliest version of this saying recognized to QI appeared in December 1902 in “Puck” magazine without attribution. The statement progressed over time. A variation through the expression “have to not interrupt” remained in circulation by 1962. It was presented as a piece of ersatz Confucian wisdom. The writer of this reformulation is uncertain. The later on affiliation to George Bernard Shaw is spurious.

Image Notes: Picture of flying pioneers Orville and also Wilbur Wideal with the Wideal Flyer in 1903 derived through Wikimedia Commons and UNITED STATE Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs division. Image has been cropped and resized.

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(Thanks to the journalist who on June 12, 2018 located the web page of “Puck” containing the nascent quotation. Thanks to researcher Barry Popik for his expedition of this topic with an initial citation in 1985. Thanks likewise to the volunteer editors of Wikiquote. Great thanks to Nicholas Rezmerski whose query led QI to formulate this question and percreate this exploration.)

Update History: On June 14, 2018 a straight citation for “Puck” magazine dated December 24, 1902 was added to the post. Previously, the earliest citation presented in this write-up was dated March 7, 1903. “Puck” was acknowledged in the 1903 citation.