Ralph Waldo Emerson: His Life-Changing Quotes

Ralph Waldo Emerson was an iconic American writer, thinker, philosopher and lecturer who was active during the 19th century. His teachings on individualism and nature are still widely influential today, and his words act as a constant source of inspiration and motivation. In this article, we’ll explore the some of the most inspiring and life-changing quotes from Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Early Life and Career
Ralph Waldo Emerson was born on the 25th of May, 1803 in Boston, Massachusetts. He studied at Harvard and was ordained as a pastor of a Unitarian Church in 1829. In 1832, he embarked on a two-year trip to Europe, returning in 1834. After his return, Emerson resigned from his position as a pastor on account of his very different views than those of the church. He became a lecturer and a poet from then on.

Quotes About Self-Reliance 

Self-reliance was a major theme in Emerson’s work, and it has been extremely influential in American society. Below are some of his most inspiring quotes on this topic.

  1. “What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say.”
  2. “That which we persist in doing becomes easier, not that the nature of the task has changed, but the power to do it is increased.”
  3. “To be great is to be misunderstood.”
  4. “A man is that by doing nothing is nothing.”
  5. “The only way to have a friend is to be a friend.”
  6. “In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts.”
  7. “Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you.”
  8. “Trust should be the basis of all our moral training.”
  9. “Never rely on the admiration of others. It is worthless.”
  10. “Your own mind is the limit of the success you can achieve.”

Quotes on Nature
Nature was another of Emerson’s most popular topics. Here are some of his wise words on the topic.

  1. “The earth laughs in flowers.”
  2. “Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect.”
  3. “Nature always wears the colors of the spirit.”
  4. “Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.”
  5. “Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air.”
  6. “Our nature lies in movement; complete calm is stagnation.”
  7. “All things share the same breath – the beast, the tree, the man.”
  8. “Nature always wears the colors of the spirit.”
  9. “It is one light which beams out of a thousand stars.”
  10. “Nature is a mutable cloud which is always and never the same.”

Quotes on Life
Emerson also had a lot to say about life, and the following quotes provide an insight into what he thought.

  1. “Life is a journey, not a destination.”
  2. “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.”
  3. “Without ambition one starts nothing. Without work one finishes nothing. The prize will not be sent to you. You have to win it.”
  4. “Life is an experiment in which you may fail or succeed. Explore more, expect less.”
  5. “What you are, speaks so loud I cannot hear what you say.”
  6. “It is not the length of life, but the depth.”
  7. “The human spirit needs substance, it needs great ideas, it needs monumental dreams, which lift us to a higher level of life so as to give us meaning.”
  8. “Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood.”
  9. “The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.”
  10. “Life is a progress, and not a station.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson was an inspirational writer and thinker who had much to say about life, nature, and self-reliance. His quotes are still applicable today and can provide us with valuable insight into his teachings and his philosophy. In this article, we looked at 10 of his most inspiring quotes on these topics.

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