Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes and Wisdom

Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes

Ralph Waldo Emerson was an American essayist, philosopher, lecturer, and poet in the mid-19th century (May 25, 1803 – April 27, 1882). He was the leader of the transcendentalist movement, believing in the inherent goodness of both people and nature.

Ralph Waldo Emerson distributed his thoughts through dozens of published essays and more than 1,500 public lectures across the United States.

Emerson wrote most of his important essays as lectures first and then revised them for print.

His most important essays were published in two collections that represent the core of his thinking: Essays: First Series (1841)
Essays: Second Series (1844)

Emerson believed people must have the courage to look into their heart for spiritual guidance and trust their intuition. He believed that they are capable of generating original insights and that the truth can be experienced directly from nature.

Download our popular eBook on affirmations
Affirmations - Words with Power

Here, you will find some of the best Ralph Waldo Emerson quotes.

Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes

“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.”

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

“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.”

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

“Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.”

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

“In my walks, every man I meet is my superior in some way, and in that I learn from him.”

Ad - Continue reading below.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”

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

“Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood. All is riddle, and the key to a riddle is another riddle.”

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

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

he earth laughs in flowers

“The earth laughs in flowers.”

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

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

“Better to know a few things which are good and necessary than many things which are useless and mediocre.”

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

“He who is not everyday conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life.”

“Every artist was first an amateur.”

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

“Live well, learn plenty, laugh often, love much.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

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

“An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory.”

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

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

“Let us draw a lesson from nature, which always works by short ways. When the fruit is ripe, it falls.”

“That what we seek we shall find; what we flee from flees from us.”

“He is rich who owns the day, and no one owns the day who allows it to be invaded with fret and anxiety.”

“Life is a progress, and not a station.”

“Thought is the seed of action.”

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

“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.”

“This new day is too dear, with its hopes and invitations, to waste a moment on the yesterdays.”

“Each of us sees in others what we carry in our own hearts.”

“People only see what they are prepared to see.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Do that which is assigned you, and you cannot hope too much or dare too much.”

“A friend is a person with whom I may be sincere. Before him I may think aloud.”

“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.”

“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.”

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

“What am I? And what is? Asks the human spirit with a curiosity new-kindled, but never to be quenched.”

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

“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.”

“Nature is methodical, and doeth her work well. Time is never to be hurried.”

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

“The mind, once stretched by a new idea, never returns to its original dimensions.”

“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.”

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

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

“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”

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

Ralph Waldo Emerson Deep Wisdom Quotes

Ralph Waldo Emerson quotes contain deep wisdom, and though he lived in the 19th, his words are most valid today.

It is a good idea to read each quote, think about it, and try to find out how it relates to your life, and what can do to implement its wisdom in your life.

Here are a few short examples:

“People only see what they are prepared to see.”
This is so true. If you ask people to describe the same experience, place or situation, each person will describe it in different way.

“Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting some on yourself.”
When you are happy you make other people happy too.

“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”
Everyone goes through some failures in life. The important point to remember is that successful people are not afraid of failure. They get up and make a greater effort. If you fall get up, do not give up.

“Thought is the seed of action.”
Everything starts in the mind. Your thoughts lead to action, and action leads to results.

“An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory.”
It is action that makes thing happen, not theories.

You can take each quote, think about it, and find conclusions and advice.

Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes

Quotes Directory >> Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes

Enjoy Inner Peace in the Busy Daily Life
Inner Peace in the Busy Daily Life Learn how to calm down your mind and emotions.
Reduce stress and nervousness.
Stop dwelling on worries and fears.
Simple steps everyone can follow.
Special Offer - 25% off!
See Details

Follow Us on:   Facebook   Twitter