Born on May 25, 1803, in Boston, Massachusetts, Ralph Waldo Emerson shined through life to become one of the greatest American poets, essayists, and philosophers.
After a stint at Harvard (first, as a student and then as a teacher), he sailed for Europe, visiting two of the most celebrated poets of that time – Thomas Carlyle and Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
On his return to New England, Emerson became known for challenging the established schools of thoughts and the philosophical convictions of the time.
“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail”, he once said.
True to his words, he became the father of Transcendentalism – the American philosophic and literary movement that emerged as a natural social reaction against scientific rationalism. Transcedentalists hold that everything around us is a microcosm of the universe. Emerson also developed the concept of the Over-Soul: a Supreme Mind that every man and woman share.
The Over-Soul allowed Transcendentalists to discard external authority and rely instead on their direct experience.
In this regard, listed below are Emerson’s 18 most inspirational quotes on self-reliance.
Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
To be great is to be misunderstood. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Shallow men believe in luck or in circumstance. Strong men believe in cause and effect. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Always do what you are afraid to do. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
People do not seem to realize that their opinion of the world is also a confession of their character. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
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
Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
When it is dark enough, you can see the stars. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Peace cannot be achieved through violence; it can only be attained through understanding. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
The only way to have a friend is to be one. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting some on yourself. – Ralph Waldo Emerson