This Ralph lived and died more than 130 years ago but his works still hold sway even to this day as he remains a source of inspiration to many people. Ralph Waldo Emerson’s quotes will not only reveal the secrets of success to you but also open your eyes to the need for self-reliance.
Born on the 25th of May 1803, Emerson is credited as the leader of the transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century. He was also one of those that took American literature to a great height being an essayist, lecturer, philosopher, and poet. Considered to be the proponent of individualism, Ralph Waldo Emerson was a minister appointed to the Old Second Church in his native city but after some time, he lost interest in preaching. This was even worsened by the death of his wife who died of tuberculosis resulting in Emerson’s outright resignation from pastoral work in 1831. After he abandoned the church, he formulated the philosophical movement known as transcendentalism.
He spread his thoughts widely via several published essays in addition to speaking in over 1,500 public lectures in different cities of the United States of America. Essays: First Series and Essays: Second Series which are his first two essay collections are representations of the core of his thinking. Ralph Waldo Emerson’s quotes which touch on different areas of life also portray his philosophies vastly regarded as a source of inspiration and motivation.
101 Greatest Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Quotes
1. If we encounter a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he reads.
2. The first wealth is health.
3. The years teach much which the days never know.
4. Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.
5. Sorrow looks back, worry looks around, faith looks up.
6. This new day is too dear, with its hopes and invitations, to waste a moment on the yesterdays.
7. We do what we must, and call it by the best names we can.
8. Public opinion, I am sorry to say, will bear a great deal of nonsense. There is scarcely any absurdity so gross, whether in religion, politics, science or manners, which it will not bear.
9. He who has put forth his total strength in fit actions has the richest return of wisdom.
10. A man is what he thinks about all day long.
11. Better to know a few things which are good and necessary than many things which are useless and mediocre.
12. He is rich who owns the day, and no one owns the day who allows it to be invaded with fret and anxiety.
13. The reward of a thing well done is to have done it.
14. Our greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising up every time we fall.
15. This world belongs to the energetic.
16. 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.
17. Do what we can, summer will have its flies: if we walk in the woods, we must feed mosquitos: if we go a-fishing, we must expect a wet coat.
18. Solitude, the safeguard of mediocrity, is to genius the stern friend.
19. It is the duty of men to judge men only by their actions. Our faculties furnish us with no means of arriving at the motive, the character, the secret self. We call the tree good from its fruits, and the man, from his works.
20. Nothing is more simple than greatness; indeed, to be simple is to be great.
21. You shall have joy, or you shall have power, said God; you shall not have both.
22. Dare to live the life you have dreamed for yourself. Go forward and make your dreams come true.
23. Hitch your wagon to a star.
24.Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.
25. Thought is the seed of action.
26. The invariable mark of a dream is to see it come true.
27. Every really able man, in whatever direction he work,—a man of large affairs, an inventor, a statesman, an orator, a poet, a painter,—if you talk sincerely with him, considers his work, however much admired, as far short of what it should be.
28. We aim above the mark to hit the mark.
29. The invariable mark of wisdom is to see the miraculous in the common.
30. Beware what you set your heart upon. For it surely shall be yours.
31. Great men are they who see that spiritual is stronger than any material force, that thoughts rule the world.
32. The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.
33. What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.
34. Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door.
35. Be yourself; no base imitator of another, but your best self.
36. Insist on yourself; never imitate. Your own gift you can present every moment with the cumulative force of a whole life’s cultivation: but of the adopted talent of another, you gave only an extemporaneous, half possession.
37. The dull pray; the geniuses are light mockers.
38. Common sense is genius dressed in its working clothes.
39. An original sentence, a step forward, is worth more than all the censures.
40. To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.
41. A great man is always willing to be little.
42. Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string.
43. What you are comes to you.
44. Imitation is suicide.
45. 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.
46. The way of life is wonderful. It is by abandonment. The great moments of history are the facilities of performance through the strength of ideas, as the works of genius and religion.
47. People only see what they are prepared to see.