Let’s find out the meaning of the proverb the shortest answer is doing.
You got to do it. Execute it. Carry out or put into effect. Take action.
It doesn’t matter what kind of result or outcome.
The important thing is you make the start. Get it done with it.
Talking about the importance of taking the initiative and get started, read this e-book “Poke The Box” by Seth Godin.
I know there there is another version of this proverb “The shortest answer is doing the thing”, that is attributed to Ernest Hemingway.
As to date, there is no single credible source which indicates that this line is by “Papa” (Ernest Hemingway’s nickname).
So far, I can only locate the proverb “The shortest answer is doing” and NOT “The shortest answer is doing the thing“.
Besides “The Works Of George Herbert” By George Herbert, on page 340, you can also find this proverb in “The Multicultural Dictionary of Proverbs: Over 20,000 Adages from More Than 120 Languages, Nationalities and Ethnic Groups” by Harold V. Cordy (McFarland, 2005)
It is listed under “Action”, no. 259 on page 4.
This proverb is also found in “A Concordance To The Complete Writings of George Herbert” written by Mario A. Di Cesare, Rigo Mignani. (Cornell University Press, 1977)
It is found on page 214 and page 445.
Mass Misattribution Of Quotations
You don’t need to be brainy or need to spend a good deal of time to read, to know who are the notorious culprits with wrongly or falsely attributed quotes.
I think the smartest answer to the issues of mass misattributions of quotations is to stop quoting from those unreliable online sites.