Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotations

-You are here to enjoy an original relationship with the universe.

-This world is so beautiful that I can hardly believe it exists.

-Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.

-If you would lift me you must be on higher ground.

-The world is his who can see through its pretension. What deafness, what stone-blind custom, what overgrown error you behold, is there only by sufferance-your sufferance. See it to be a lie, and you have already dealt it a mortal blow.

-But do your thing and I shall know you.

-Let the bird sing without deciphering the song.

-To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.

-Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.

-Insist on yourself; never imitate.

-It was a high counsel that I once heard given to a young person, “Always do what you are afraid to do.”

-If you love and serve man, you cannot, by any hiding or stratagem, escape remuneration.

-A man is relieved and gay when he has put his heart into his work and done his best; but what he has said or done otherwise shall give him no peace.

-Everyone has a vocation, talent is the call.

-The one thing we need is someone to make us do what we are capable of doing.

-One who has access to this universal mind is party to all that is or can be done.

-Place yourself in the middle of the stream of power and wisdom which flows into you as life, place yourself in the full center of that flood, then you are without effort impelled to truth, to right, and a perfect contentment.

-What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.

-Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

-Every artist was an amateur.

-When a man says to me, “I have the intensest love of nature,” at once I know that he has none.

-It is one of the beautiful compensations of life, that no man can sincerely help another without helping himself.

-Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist.

-The one thing of value is the active soul.

-Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members.

-Speak the affirmative; emphasize your choice by utterly ignoring all that you reject.

-All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better. What if they are a little coarse, and you may get your coat soiled or torn? What if you do fail and get fairly rolled in the dirt once or twice? Up again, you shall never be so afraid of a tumble.

-Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, it empties today of its strengths.

-…the sense of being which in calm hours arises, we know not how, in the soul, is not diverse from things, from space, from light, from time, from man, but one with them and proceeds obviously from the same source…. Here is the fountain of action and of thought…. We lie in the lap of immense intelligence.

-Every hero becomes a bore at last.

-Every man alone is sincere. At the entrance of a second person, hypocrisy begins.

-If we find a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he reads.

-At times the whole world seems to be in conspiracy to importune you with emphatic trifles.

-As we grow old the beauty steals inward.

-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.

-What I must do is all that concerns me, not what people think.

-The objection to conforming to usages that have become dead to you is that it scatters your force: loses your time, blears the impression of your character. … Do your thing and I shall know you.

-None of us will ever accomplish anything excellent or commanding except when he listens to this whisper which is heard by him alone.

-The reward of a thing well done is to have done it.

-When you strike at a king, you must kill him.

-I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, the old and the new.

-Observe the invincible tendency of the mind to unify. It is a law of our constitution that we should not contemplate things apart without the effort to arrange them in order with known facts and ascribe them to the same law.

-He who is not everyday conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life.

-I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.

-Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities have 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.

-The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons.

-Often a certain abdication of prudence and foresight is an element of success.

-Beware when the great God lets loose a thinker on this planet.

-Don’t be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.

-Don’t waste yourself in rejection, nor bark against the bad, but chant the beauty of the good.

-Give all to love; obey thy heart.

-A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.

-Rejoice not at thine enemy’s fall – but don’t rush to pick him up either.
Ralph Waldo Emerson