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Ralph Waldo Emerson was an incredible writer whose influence extends to the present day. His books and writings are constantly discussed in the modern age. Ralph Waldo Emerson quotes are full of timeless wisdom. He was a brilliant man that spent his life trying to find answers to life’s greatest questions.
Unfortunately, Emerson’s father passed away when he was eight years old. He was raised by his mother whom he had a great relationship with until she too passed away. Emerson showed incredible talent in school. He was so intelligent that he started attending Harvard at the young age of 14. During this time he took on jobs in order to pay his bills.
After graduating Emerson worked as a schoolmaster at his brother’s school for woman. Unfortunately, during this time two of his brothers died of tuberculosis. Emerson married his wife Ellen, but tragically she died from tuberculosis a mere two years later. Her death and the death of his family members greatly affected Emerson.
The tragedy of these deaths and the fact that many Christians supported slavery led Emerson to question the validity of the church. He decided to take a tour of Europe, which resulted in his first book, English Traits which was based on his travels.
Traveling gave him time to think. As a result, he started to move away from religion and towards science. Emerson moved back to New York and started his career as a speaker. Emerson married Lydia Jackson and had three children with her.
Ralph Waldo Emerson was quickly becoming an intellectual. He published his landmark essay Nature in 1836. He befriended other intellectuals including Henry David Thoreau who he mentored for years. During this time he continued to lecture. One of his most famous lectures was The American Scholar in which he outlined his philosophies of viewing the world. It was controversial but well received.
Emerson went on to publish the book Essays which included his famous essay called “Self-Reliance”. Emerson published a huge volume of work including his 16 volume of journals that was published after his death.
Scholars consider Ralph Waldo Emerson a transcendentalist. He is still regularly studied today and is widely regarded as one of America’s most important intellectuals. He was ahead of his time. For instance, he was opposed to slavery, unlike most of his contemporaries. In addition, he opposed the oppressive rules of the church. Emerson’s legacy will live on for many years to come. It’s not surprising that Ralph Waldo Emerson quotes are often referred to as sources of wisdom.
Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes about life and writing
1.) “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
2.) “What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
3.) “Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
4.) “When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
5.) “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.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
6.) “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.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
7.) “Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
8.) “I cannot remember the books I’ve read any more than the meals I have eaten; even so, they have made me.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
9.) “All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
10.) “Dare to live the life you have dreamed for yourself. Go forward and make your dreams come true.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
11.) “It is not the length of life, but the depth.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
12.) “The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
13.) “The earth laughs in flowers.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
14.) “Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
15.) “Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
16.) “Life is a journey, not a destination.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
17.) “Without ambition one starts nothing. Without work one finishes nothing. The prize will not be sent to you. You have to win it.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
18.) “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
19.) “Make the most of yourself….for that is all there is of you.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
20.) “Be silly. Be honest. Be kind.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
More Ralph Waldo Emerson quotes
21.) “Don’t be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
22.) “You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
23.) “If we encounter a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he reads.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
24. “The only way to have a friend is to be one.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
25.) “A great man is always willing to be little.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
26.) “A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is brave five minutes longer.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
27.) “Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
28.) “Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us, or we find it not.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
29.) “Shallow men believe in luck or in circumstance. Strong men believe in cause and effect.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
30.) “Peace cannot be achieved through violence, it can only be attained through understanding.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
31.) “Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
32.) “To be great is to be misunderstood.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
33.) “People do not seem to realise that their opinion of the world is also a confession of their character.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
34.) “Most of the shadows of this life are caused by standing in one’s own sunshine.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
35.) “When friendships are real, they are not glass threads or frost work, but the solidest things we can know.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
36.) “Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
37.) “You become what you think about all day long.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
What other Ralph Waldo Emerson quotes would you add to the list?