A man that is still an inspiration to countless people today, these Ralph Waldo Emerson quotes will inspire you to look past your struggles to see your greatness within.
Emerson was plagued by tragedy throughout his life, but he was driven and determined to shine despite his struggles along the way.
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.
He was a brilliant man that spent his life trying to find answers to life’s greatest questions. Ralph Waldo Emerson quotes are full of timeless wisdom.
Who is Ralph Waldo Emerson?
Unfortunately, Emerson’s father passed away when Ralph was only eight years old. Ralph 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.
Remember to also read our collection of quotes by Nietzsche that will inspire you to think like the greats and tap into your Everyday Power.
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
Also check out these motivational writing quotes that will get you writing your story.
Ralph Waldo Emerson quotes about self-reliance
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
If you’re enjoying these quotes, read our collection of ambition quotes to set your sights sky high.
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
Don’t forget to also read these inspirational William Blake quotes for the creative soul.
Ralph Waldo Emerson quotes about friendship
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
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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
Ralph Waldo Emerson quotes about nature
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
If you’re enjoying these quotes, make sure to read our selection of friendship quotes celebrating life-long relationships.
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
Ralph Waldo quotes to inspire success
38. “The good news is that the moment you decide that what you know is more important than what you have been taught to believe, you will have shifted gears in your quest for abundance. Success comes from within, not from without.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
39. “Character is higher than intellect… A great soul will be strong to live, as well as strong to think.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
40. “It is not length of life, but depth of life.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
41. “Big jobs usually go to the men who prove their ability to outgrow small ones.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
42. “Before we acquire great power we must acquire wisdom to use it well.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
43. “What you are comes to you.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
44. “To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
45. “Self-trust is the first secret of success.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
46. “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Inspirational Ralph Waldo Emerson quotes
47. “Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
48. “The ancestor of every action is a thought. ” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
49. “Enthusiasm is the mother of effort, and without it nothing great was ever achieved.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
50. “The secret in education lies in respecting the student.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
51. “The health of the eye seems to demand a horizon. We are never tired, so long as we can see far enough.”― Ralph Waldo Emerson
52. “This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it.”― Ralph Waldo Emerson
53. “People wish to be settled; only as far as they are unsettled is there any hope for them.”― Ralph Waldo Emerson
54. “The only reward of virtue is virtue; the only way to have a friend is to be one.”― Ralph Waldo Emerson
55. “How much of human life is lost in waiting.”― Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson quotes to expand your mindset
56. “Beauty without grace is the hook without the bait.”― Ralph Waldo Emerson
57. “We must be our own before we can be another’s.”― Ralph Waldo Emerson
58. “Happy will the house be in which the relationships are formed from character.”― Ralph Waldo Emerson
59. “What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think.”― Ralph Waldo Emerson
60. “People destined to meet will do so, apparently by chance, at precisely the right moment.”― Ralph Waldo Emerson
61. “Imagination is a very high sort of seeing.”― Ralph Waldo Emerson
62. “Belief consists in accepting the affirmations of the soul; unbelief, in denying them.”― Ralph Waldo Emerson
63. “Throw a stone into the stream and the ripples that propagate themselves are the beautiful type of all influence.”― Ralph Waldo Emerson
64. “We are by nature observers, and thereby learners. That is our permanent state.”― Ralph Waldo Emerson
65. “Little minds have little worries, big minds have no time for worries.”― Ralph Waldo Emerson
If you’re enjoying these quotes, make sure to check out our collection of mindset quotes that will help take you where you want to go in life.
66. “One of the most beautiful compensations in life is that no person can help another without helping themselves.”― Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson quotes to elevate your perspective
67. “We are always getting ready to live but never living.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
68. “Nature is reckless of the individual. When she has points to carry, she carries them.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
69. “I do not wish more external goods, — neither possessions, nor honors, nor powers, nor persons. The gain is apparent; the tax is certain.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
70. “Knowledge is the antidote to fear.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
71. “What your heart thinks is great, is great. The soul’s emphasis is always right.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
72. “Economy does not consist in saving the coal, but in using the time while it burns.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
73. “Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting some on yourself.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
74. “A man’s years should not be counted until he has something else to count.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
75. “The real and lasting victories are those of peace and not of war.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
If you’re enjoying these quotes, you’ll love our collection of world peace quotes to give you hope for humanity.
76. “No great man ever complains of want of opportunity.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson quotes that will change the way you think
77. “All the good of nature is the soul’s, and may be had, if paid for in nature’s lawful coin, that is, by labor which the heart and the head allow.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
78. “The last change in our point of view gives the whole world a pictorial air.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
79. “He cannot be happy and strong until he too lives with nature in the present, above time.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
80. “The sum of wisdom is that time is never lost that is devoted to work.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
81. “He is rich who owns the day, and no one owns the day who allows it to be invaded with fret and anxiety.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
82. “Concentration is the secret of strength in politics, in war, in trade, in short in all management of human affairs.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
If you’re enjoying these quotes, you’ll love our collection of war quotes from writers, politicians, and more.
83. “Without a rich heart, wealth is an ugly beggar.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
84. “We cannot overstate our debt to the past, but the moment has the supreme claim.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
85. “The love that you withhold is the pain that you carry.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson quotes to inspire you
86. “Wise men put their trust in ideas and not in circumstances.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
87. “The world belongs to the energetic.”― Ralph Waldo Emerson
88. “The Artist always has the masters in his eyes.”― Ralph Waldo Emerson
89. “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. ”― Ralph Waldo Emerson
90. “The secret of education lies in respecting the pupil.”― Ralph Waldo Emerson
91. “Great men are they who see that spiritual is stronger than any material force, that thoughts rule the world.”― Ralph Waldo Emerson
92. “In order for one to learn the important lessons of life, one must first overcome a fear each day.”― Ralph Waldo Emerson
93. “A friend may be nature’s most magnificent creation.”― Ralph Waldo Emerson
94. “Do the thing and you will have the power.”― Ralph Waldo Emerson
95. “Never lose an opportunity for seeing something beautiful for beauty is God’s handwriting.”― Ralph Waldo Emerson
Don’t forget also read these Edgar Allan Poe quotes that will broaden your thoughts.
More Ralph Waldo Emerson quotes
96. “For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
97. “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
98. “Always do what you are afraid to do.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
99. “Envy is ignorance, Imitation is Suicide.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
100. “Nothing external to you has any power over you.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
101. “Sorrow looks back, Worry looks around, Faith looks up.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
102. “Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. Nothing can bring you peace but the triumph of principles.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
103. “None of us will ever accomplish anything excellent or commanding except when he listens to this whisper which is heard by him alone.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
104. “Life is a series of surprises and would not be worth taking or keeping if it were not.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
105. “Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Which are your favorite Ralph Waldo Emerson quotes?
Ralph Waldo Emerson left a lasting legacy. His work continues to influence thinkers and writers around the world to the present day.
Even though his views may have been considered radical at the time, he opposed slavery and the oppressive rules of the church.
Hopefully, you’ve gained some valuable wisdom from these Ralph Waldo Emerson quotes.
Did you enjoy these quotes? What other Ralph Waldo Emerson quotes would you add to the list? Tell us in the comment section below. We would love to hear all about it.
March 15, 2021 6:00 AM EST