Ralph Waldo Emerson (born 25 May 1803, Boston, Massachusetts, United States – died 27 April 1882, Concord, Massachusetts, United States) was an American lecturer, essayist, philosopher, poet, and abolitionist. He achieved worldwide fame as a lecturer and as the author of such essays as “Self-Reliance,” “History,” “The Over-Soul,” and “Fate.” Ralph Waldo Emerson was one of the most influential Americans of the 19th century.
To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment. What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us. Life is a journey, not a destination.
Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.
Ralph Waldo Emerson Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen. For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness. Always do what you are afraid to do. People do not seem to realize that their opinion of the world is also a confession of their character. Without ambition one starts nothing. Without work one finishes nothing. The prize will not be sent to you. You have to win it. A man is what he thinks about all day long. Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air. What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say. Shallow men believe in luck or in circumstance. Strong men believe in cause and effect. The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be. Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm. Don’t waste life in doubts and fears; spend yourself on the work before you, well assured that the right performance of this hour’s duties will be the best preparation for the hours and ages that will follow it. Nothing is more simple than greatness; indeed, to be simple is to be great. It is easy to live for others, everybody does. I call on you to live for yourself. The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well. It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them. When it is dark enough, you can see the stars. He who is not everyday conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life. We acquire the strength we have overcome. For everything you have missed, you have gained something else, and for everything you gain, you lose something else. I cannot remember the books I’ve read any more than the meals I have eaten; even so, they have made me.
Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.
Ralph Waldo Emerson It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude. Beware what you set your heart upon. For it surely shall be yours. Be not the slave of your own past – plunge into the sublime seas, dive deep, and swim far, so you shall come back with new self-respect, with new power, and with an advanced experience that shall explain and overlook the old. Make your own Bible. Select and collect all the words and sentences that in all your readings have been to you like the blast of a trumpet. Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience. You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.
The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, not the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when you discover that someone else believes in you and is willing to trust you with a friendship.
Ralph Waldo Emerson The good news is that the moment you decide that what you know is more important than what you have been taught to believe, you will have shifted gears in your quest for abundance. Success comes from within, not from without. A friend may well be reckoned the masterpiece of nature. All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen. Every particular in nature, a leaf, a drop, a crystal, a moment of time is related to the whole, and partakes of the perfection of the whole. The invariable mark of wisdom is to see the miraculous in the common.
Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires some of the same courage that a soldier needs. Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men and women to win them.
Ralph Waldo Emerson Make the most of yourself… for that is all there is of you. None of us will ever accomplish anything excellent or commanding except when he listens to this whisper which is heard by him alone. Self-trust is the first secret of success. Don’t be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better. If we encounter a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he reads. The secret of ugliness consists not in irregularity, but in being uninteresting. The earth laughs in flowers. It is not the length of life, but the depth. Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year. Every artist was first an amateur. Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow. Dare to live the life you have dreamed for yourself. Go forward and make your dreams come true. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense. Most of the shadows of this life are caused by standing in one’s own sunshine. Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind. Peace cannot be achieved through violence; it can only be attained through understanding. The mind, once stretched by a new idea, never returns to its original dimensions. Fear defeats more people than any other one thing in the world. Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting some on yourself. The only way to have a friend is to be one. In my walks, every man I meet is my superior in some way, and in that I learn from him. A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is brave five minutes longer.
Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.
Ralph Waldo Emerson Good luck is another name for tenacity of purpose. Guard well your spare moments. They are like uncut diamonds. Discard them and their value will never be known. Improve them and they will become the brightest gems in a useful life. Don’t be pushed by your problems. Be led by your dreams. The reason why the world lacks unity, and lies broken and in heaps, is, because man is disunited with himself. A great man is always willing to be little. The ancestor of every action is a thought. Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us, or we find it not. Be silly. Be honest. Be kind. Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail. A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds. A man must consider what a rich realm he abdicates when he becomes a conformist. Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be. I like the silent church before the service begins, better than any preaching. Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. Nothing can bring you peace but the triumph of principles. Character is higher than intellect… A great soul will be strong to live, as well as strong to think.
This is my wish for you: Comfort on difficult days, smiles when sadness intrudes, rainbows to follow the clouds, laughter to kiss your lips, sunsets to warm your heart, hugs when spirits sag, beauty for your eyes to see, friendships to brighten your being, faith so that you can believe, confidence for when you doubt, courage to know yourself, patience to accept the truth, Love to complete your life.
Ralph Waldo Emerson Sorrow looks back, Worry looks around, Faith looks up. Beauty without expression is boring. In every man there is something wherein I may learn of him, and in that I am his pupil. We do not quite forgive a giver. The hand that feeds us is in some danger of being bitten. Coolness and absence of heat and haste indicate fine qualities. Do not spill thy soul in running hither and yon, grieving over the mistakes and the vices of others. The one person whom it is most necessary to reform is yourself. When you were born you were crying and everyone else was smiling. Live your life so at the end, you’re the one who is smiling and everyone else is crying. To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded. Let us be silent, that we may hear the whisper of God. Be yourself; no base imitator of another, but your best self. There is something which you can do better than another. Listen to the inward voice and bravely obey that. Do the things at which you are great, not what you were never made for. Big jobs usually go to the men who prove their ability to outgrow small ones. Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. Each man has his own vocation. The talent is the call. People only see what they are prepared to see. The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn. Before we acquire great power we must acquire wisdom to use it well. Some books leave us free and some books make us free. In a library we are surrounded by many hundreds of dear friends imprisoned by an enchanter in paper and leathern boxes. That which we persist in doing becomes easier to do, not that the nature of the thing has changed but that our power to do has increased. Solitude, the safeguard of mediocrity, is to genius the stern friend. Envy is ignorance, Imitation is Suicide. When friendships are real, they are not glass threads or frost work, but the solidest things we can know. Life is short, but there is always time enough for courtesy. This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it. There is creative reading as well as creative writing. The secret in education lies in respecting the student. Common sense is genius dressed in its working clothes. Do that which is assigned you, and you cannot hope too much or dare too much. It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life, that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself. The health of the eye seems to demand a horizon. We are never tired, so long as we can see far enough. Life is a series of surprises and would not be worth taking or keeping if it were not. Nothing external to you has any power over you. Sometimes a scream is better than a thesis. He is rich who owns the day, and no one owns the day who allows it to be invaded with fret and anxiety. Happy will the house be in which the relationships are formed from character. Nature and Books belong to the eyes that see them. Every noble activity makes room for itself. Nature is reckless of the individual. When she has points to carry, she carries them. The first wealth is health. No man is quite sane; each has a vein of folly in his composition, a slight determination of blood to the head, to make sure of holding him hard to some one point which nature had taken to heart. Knowledge is the antidote to fear. The sum of wisdom is that time is never lost that is devoted to work. Economy does not consist in saving the coal, but in using the time while it burns.
Dream delivers us to dream, and there is no end to illusion. Life is like a train of moods like a string of beads, and, as we pass through them, they prove to be many-colored lenses which paint the world their own hue, and each shows only what lies in its foucs.
Ralph Waldo Emerson The last change in our point of view gives the whole world a pictorial air.