Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”

“For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.”

“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.”

“It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them.”

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

“Always do what you are afraid to do.”

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

“What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.”

“When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.”

“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.”

“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.”

“Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.”

“Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air.”

“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.”

“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.”

“It is not the length of life, but the depth.”

“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.”

“Dare to live the life you have dreamed for yourself. Go forward and make your dreams come true.”

“All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen.”

“The earth laughs in flowers.”

“I cannot remember the books I’ve read any more than the meals I have eaten; even so, they have made me.”

“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”

“Life is a journey, not a destination.”

“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.”

“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.”

“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.”
“Don’t be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.”

“Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.”

“Make the most of yourself….for that is all there is of you.”

“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.”

“You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.”

“The only way to have a friend is to be one.”

“Without ambition one starts nothing. Without work one finishes nothing. The prize will not be sent to you. You have to win it.”

“A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is brave five minutes longer.”

“Be silly. Be honest. Be kind.”

“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.”

“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.”

“A friend is a person with whom I may be sincere. Before him I may think aloud. I am arrived at last in the presence of a man so real and equal, that I may drop even those undermost garments of dissimulation, courtesy, and second thought, which men never put off, and may deal with him with the simplicity and wholeness with which one chemical atom meets another.”

“If we encounter a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he reads.”

“Peace cannot be achieved through violence, it can only be attained through understanding.”

“Sometimes a scream is better than a thesis.”

“Shallow men believe in luck or in circumstance. Strong men believe in cause and effect.”

“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.”

“Every artist was first an amateur.”

“Most of the shadows of this life are caused by standing in one’s own sunshine.”

“To be great is to be misunderstood.”

“When friendships are real, they are not glass threads or frost work, but the solidest things we can know.”

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

“Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.”

“Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood.”

“Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting some on yourself.”

“A great man is always willing to be little.”

“Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind.”

“You become what you think about all day long.”

“Life is a series of surprises and would not be worth taking or keeping if it were not.”

“I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.”

“Let us be silent, that we may hear the whisper of God.”

“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.”

“For everything you have missed, you have gained something else, and for everything you gain, you lose something else.”

“The ornament of a house is the friends who frequent it.”

“In a library we are surrounded by many hundreds of dear friends imprisoned by an enchanter in paper and leathern boxes.”

“Nothing external to you has any power over you.”

“Common sense is genius dressed in its working clothes.”

“Insist on yourself; never imitate. Your own gift you can offer with the cumulative force of a whole life’s cultivation, but of the adopted talent of another, you have only an extemporaneous, half possession.”

“Few people know how to take a walk. The qualifications are endurance, plain clothes, old shoes, an eye for nature, good humor, vast curiosity, good speech, good silence and nothing too much.”

“People do not seem to realise that their opinion of the world is also a confession of their character.”

“You are constantly invited to be what you are.”

“People only see what they are prepared to see.”

“Love, and you shall be loved.”

“Life is short, but there is always time enough for courtesy.”

“All my best thoughts were stolen by the ancients.”

“Some books leave us free and some books make us free.”

“Life consists of what man is thinking about all day.”

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

“Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string.”

“We are always getting ready to live but never living.”

“Beauty without expression is boring.”

“The years teach much the days never know.”

“The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn”

“Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain.”

“In the highest civilization, the book is still the highest delight. He who has once known its satisfactions is provided with a resource against calamity.”

“The invariable mark of wisdom is to see the miraculous in the common.”

“Every wall is a door.”

“Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist.”

“Friendship, like the immortality of the soul, is too good to be believed. When friendships are real, they are not glass threads or frost work but the solidest things we know.”

“If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore; and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God which had been shown! But every night come out these envoys of beauty, and light the universe with their admonishing smile.”

“There are books . . . which rank in our life with parents and lovers and passionate experiences.”

“Life is 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 us only what lies in its own focus.”

“Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.”

“It is one of the beautiful compensations of life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.”

“Fear always springs from ignorance.”

“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. . . . ”

“What I need is someone who will make me do what I can.”

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

“I pack my trunk, embrace my friends, embark on the sea and at last wake up in Naples, and there beside me is the stern fact, the sad self, unrelenting, identical, that I fled from.”

“Be good to your work, your word, and your friend.”

“Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”

“The secret of education lies in respecting the pupil. It is not for you to choose what he shall know, what he shall do. It is chosen and foreordained and he only holds the key to his own secret.”

“Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. Nothing can bring you peace but the triumph of principles.”

“Scatter joy!”

“The end of the human race will be that it will eventually die of civilization.”

“Tis the good reader that makes the good book.”

“Beware what you set your heart upon. For it surely shall be yours.”

“To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men that is genius. ”

“If the stars should appear but one night every thousand years how man would marvel and adore.”

“Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.”

“What can we see, read, acquire, but ourselves. Take the book, my friend, and read your eyes out, you will never find there what I find.”

“Whatever games are played with us, we must play no games with ourselves, but deal in our privacy with the last honesty and truth.”

“We acquire the strength we have overcome.”

“Every sweet has its sour; every evil its good.”

“Thou art to me a delicious torment.”

“When you were born you were crying and everyone else was smiling. Live your life so at the end, your’re the one who is smiling and everyone else is crying.”

“The reward of a thing well done is having done it.”

“The religion of one age is the literary entertainment of the next.”

“The wise man in the storm prays God not for safety from danger but for deliverance from fear.”

“The world belongs to the energetic.”

“Why should I cumber myself with regrets that the receiver is not capacious? It never troubles the sun that some of his rays fall wide and vain into ungrateful space, and only a small part on the reflecting planet. Let your greatness educate the crude and cold companion.”

“In order for one to learn the important lessons of life, one must first overcome a fear each day.”

“Nature and books belong to all who see them.”

“The secret of education lies in respecting the pupil.”

“What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.”

“We boil at different degrees.”

“Hitch your wagon to a star.”

“I am the lover of uncontained and immortal beauty. In the wilderness, I find something more dear and connate than in streets or villages. In the tranquil landscape, and especially in the distant line of the horizon, man beholds somewhat as beautiful as his own nature.”

“People do not deserve good writing, they are so pleased with bad.”

“Every burned book or house enlightens the world; every suppressed or expunged word reverberates through the earth from side to side.”

“If I have lost confidence in myself, I have the universe against me.”

“To a dull mind all of nature is leaden. To the illumined mind the whole world burns and sparkles with light.”

“Better be a nettle in the side of your friend than his echo.”

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

“We are students of words: we are shut up in schools, and colleges, and recitation -rooms, for ten or fifteen years, and come out at last with a bag of wind, a memory of words, and do not know a thing.”

“Nothing can work damage to me except myself; the harm that I sustain I carry about with me and never am a real sufferer except by my own fault.”

“Trust men and they will be true to you; treat them greatly and they will show themselves great.”

“There is no beautifier of complexion, or form, or behavior, like the wish to scatter joy and not pain around us.”

“As we grow old…the beauty steals inward.”

“Great men are they who see that spiritual is stronger than any material force, that thoughts rule the world.”

“The only true gift is a portion of thyself.”

“I wish to say what I think and feel today, with the proviso that tomorrow perhaps I shall contradict it all.”

“No law can be sacred to me but that of my nature. Good and bad are but names very readily transferable to that or this; the only right is what is after my constitution; the only wrong is what is against it.”

“The ancestor of every action is a thought”

“The world makes way for the man who knows where he is going”

“There are only ten minutes in the life of a pear when it is perfect to eat.”

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

“We are wiser than we know.”

“Teach that God is, not was; that He speaketh, not spake.”

“In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts; they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty.”

“I like the silent church before the service begins, better than any preaching.”

“Shall I tell you the secret of the true scholar? It is this: every man I meet is my master in some point, and in that I learn of him.”

“A friend may be nature’s most magnificent creation.”

“Imitation is suicide.”

“If eyes were made for seeing, then beauty is its own excuse for being.”

“I covet truth; beauty is unripe childhood’s cheat; I leave it behind with the games of youth.”

“Beauty without grace is the hook without the bait.”

“Nothing is more simple than greatness; indeed, to be simple is to be great.”

“Nature wishes that woman should attract man, yet she often cunningly moulds into her face a little sarcasm, which seems to say, ‘Yes, I am willing to attract, but to attract a little better kind of a man than any I yet behold”

“Trust instinct to the end, even though you can give no reason.”

“What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think.”

“Nothing astonishes men so much as common sense and plain dealing.”

“It is a happy talent to know how to play.”

“This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it.”

“The reason why the world lacks unity, and lies broken and in heaps, is, because man is disunited with himself.”

“Nature hates calculators.”

“To finish the moment, to find the journey’s end in every step of the road, to live the greatest number of good hours, is wisdom.”

“God enters by a private door into every individual.”

“Give all to love;
Obey thy heart….”

“Even in the mud and scum of things, something always, always sings.”

“Happy will the house be in which the relationships are formed from character.”

“Never lose an opportunity for seeing something beautiful for beauty is God s handwriting.”

“To the attentive eye, each moment of the year has its own beauty, and in the same fields, it beholds, every hour, a picture which was never seen before, and which shall never be seen again.”

“Books are for nothing but to inspire”

“Enthusiasm is one of the most powerful engines of success. When you do a thing, do it with all your might. Put your whole soul into it. Stamp it with your own personality. Be active, be energetic, be enthusiastic and faithful, and you will accomplish your object. Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”

“For nonconformity the world will whip you with its displeasure.”

“Men love to wonder, and that is the seed of science.”

“No change in circumstances can repair a defect of character.”

“Many eyes go through the meadow, but few see the flowers in it”

“Give me wine to wash me clean of the weather-stains of cares”

“The Artist always has the masters in his eyes.”

“Democracy becomes a government of bullies tempered by editors.”

“Wise men put their trust in ideas and not in circumstances.”

“The only reward of virtue is virtue; the only way to have a friend is to be one.”

“Bad times have a scientific value. These are occasions a good learner would not miss.”

“Every book is a quotation; and every house is a quotation out of all forests, and mines, and stone quarries; and every man is a quotation from all his ancestors. ”

“A man is known by the books he reads.”

“We are by nature observers, and thereby learners. That is our permanent state.”

“Of all the ways to lose a person, death is the kindest”

“A sufficient and sure method of civilization is in the influence of good women.”

“Sow a thought and you reap an action; sow an act and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character; sow a character and you reap a destiny.”

“Character is that which can do without success.”

“Don’t be pushed by your problems. Be led by your dreams.”

“Fear defeats more people than any other one thing in the world.”

“People wish to be settled; only as far as they are unsettled is there any hope for them.”

“The student is to read history actively not passively.”

“Imagination is a very high sort of seeing.”

“Self trust is the essence of heroism.”

“Character is higher than intellect. A great soul will be strong to live as well as think.”

“There is more in every person’s soul than we think.”

“Truth is handsomer than the affectation of love. Your goodness must have some edge to it–else it is none.”

“Do the thing and you will have the power.”

“A man in debt is so far a slave.”

“No great man ever complains of want of opportunity.”

“A man’s library is a sort of harem.”

“Life is to be lived, not controlled”

“ “Believe what you set your heart upon for it surely shall be yours.”

“The good writer seems to be writing about himself, but has his eye always on that thread of the Universe which runs through himself and all things.”

“Love of beauty is taste. The creation of beauty is art.”

“One must be an inventor to read well. There is then creative reading as well as creative writing. ”

“Common sense is as rare as genius.”

“Sorrow looks back, Worry looks around, Faith looks up”

“Everything in creation has its appointed painter or poet and remains in bondage like the princess in the fairy tale ’til its appropriate liberator comes to set it free.”

“The music that can deepest reach and cure all ill is cordial speech.”

“Our best thoughts come from others.”

“The key to every man is his thought. Sturdy and defying though he look, he has a helm which he obeys, which is the idea after which all his facts are classified. He can only be reformed by showing him a new idea which commands his own.”

“The highest revelation is that God is in every man.”

“Little minds have little worries, big minds have no time for worries.”

“The First wealth is health.”

“The happiest man is he who learns from nature the lesson of worship”

“When I read a good book, I wish my life were three thousand years long.”
“To fill the hour──that is happiness.”

“If a man can write a better book, preach a better sermon, or make a better mousetrap than his neighbor, though he build his house in the woods, the world will make a beaten path to his door.”

“To accomplish excellence or anything outstanding, you must listen to that whisper which is heard by you alone.”

“O Day of days when we can read! The reader and the book, either without the other is naught.”

“I dream of a better tomorrow, where chickens can cross the road and not be questioned about their motives.”

“A man is a god in ruins.”

“So let us then be up and doing, with a heart for any fate; still achieving, still pursuing; learn to labor and to wait.”

“One of the most beautiful compensations in life is that no person can help another without helping themselves”

“The faith that stands on authority is not faith. ”

“To different minds, the same world is a hell, and a heaven”

“God will not make himself manifest to cowards”

“I am sure of this, that by going much alone a man will get more of a noble courage in thought and word than from all the wisdom that is in books.”

“The religion that is afraid of science dishonors God and commits suicide.”

“Every calamity is a spur and a valuable hint.”

“Before we acquire great power we must acquire wisdom to use it well.”

“Thought is the seed of action.”

“Music takes us out of the actual and whispers to us dim secrets that startles out wonder as to who we are, and for what, whence, and whereto.”

“The surest poison is time.”

“Our knowledge is the amassed thought and experience of innumerable minds.”

“Let the soul be assured that somewhere in the universe it should rejoin its friend, and it would be content and cheerful alone for a thousand years.”

“Only so much of life do I know as I have lived. ”

“The days come and go but they say nothing, and if we do not use the gifts they bring, they carry them as silently away.”

“The things taught in schools and colleges are not an education, but the means to an education.”

“Things are pretty, graceful, rich, elegant, handsome, but, until they speak to the imagination, not yet beautiful.”

“He who has a thousand friends has not a friend to spare.”

“A chief event of life is the day in which we have encountered a mind that startled us.”

“Every man’s Reason is sufficient for his guidance, if used.”

“The one thing in the world, of value, is the active soul”

“Practice radical humility.” He (or she)who masters the art of humility cannot be humiliated…”

“Good luck is another name for tenacity of purpose.”

“By necessity, by proclivity, and by delight, we all quote.”

“Nature is a mutable cloud which is always and never the same”

“Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Chose your words, for they become actions. Understand your actions, for they become habits. Study your habits, for they will become your character. Develop your character, for it becomes your destiny.”

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

“Life is a perpetual instruction in cause and effect.”

“It’s not length of life but depth of life.”

“Sincerity is the highest complement you can pay”

“Thinking is the function. Living is the functionary.”

“Old and new make the warp and woof of every moment. There is no thread that is not a twist of these two strands. By necessity, by proclivity, and by delight, we all quote.”

“What’s a book? Everything or nothing. The eye that sees it all.”

“All history is biography.”

“All writing comes by the grace of God.”

“The World exists for you ; Build therefore your own world”

“Evil is ignorance.”

“The true test of civilization is not the census, nor the size of the cities, nor the crops – no, but the kind of man the country turns out.”

“I must go upright and vital and speak the rude truth in all ways.”

“Meek young men grow up in libraries believing it their duty to accept the views which Cicero, which Locke, which Bacon have given, forgetful that Cicero, Locke and Bacon were only young men in libraries when they wrote those books.”

“The measure of a master is his success in bringing all men around to his opinion twenty years later.”

“Life is our dictionary.”

An action is the perfection and publication of thought.

Nothing astonishes men so much as common sense and plain dealing.

Friendship, like the immortality of the soul, is too good to be believed.

The soul of God is poured into the world through the thoughts of men.

We sink to rise.”

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