Ralph Emerson Quotes

We've searched our database for all the quotes and captions related to Ralph Emerson. Here they are! All 200 of them:

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To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson (Emerson in His Journals)
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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.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Always do what you are afraid to do.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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I cannot remember the books I've read any more than the meals I have eaten; even so, they have made me.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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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.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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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.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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The earth laughs in flowers.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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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.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson (Self Reliance)
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It is not the length of life, but the depth.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Dare to live the life you have dreamed for yourself. Go forward and make your dreams come true.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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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.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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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.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson (The Complete Prose Works Of Ralph Waldo Emerson)
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Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Without ambition one starts nothing. Without work one finishes nothing. The prize will not be sent to you. You have to win it.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Life is a journey, not a destination.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Make the most of yourself....for that is all there is of you.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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If we encounter a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he reads.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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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.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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A great man is always willing to be little.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Be silly. Be honest. Be kind.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us, or we find it not.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson (Emerson's Essays)
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Don't be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson (Journals of Ralph Waldo Emerson, with Annotations - 1841-1844)
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You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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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.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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The only way to have a friend is to be one.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Shallow men believe in luck or in circumstance. Strong men believe in cause and effect.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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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.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson (Emerson in His Journals)
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People do not seem to realise that their opinion of the world is also a confession of their character.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is brave five minutes longer.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Peace cannot be achieved through violence, it can only be attained through understanding.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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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.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Every artist was first an amateur.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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You become what you think about all day long.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson (Self-Reliance)
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The mind, once stretched by a new idea, never returns to its original dimensions.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Envy is ignorance, Imitation is Suicide.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson (Self-Reliance)
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To be great is to be misunderstood.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson (Self-Reliance and Other Essays)
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It is easy to live for others, everybody does. I call on you to live for yourself.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Most of the shadows of this life are caused by standing in one's own sunshine.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting some on yourself.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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When friendships are real, they are not glass threads or frost work, but the solidest things we can know.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson (Essays: First Series)
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In my walks, every man I meet is my superior in some way, and in that I learn from him.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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There is creative reading as well as creative writing.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Nothing external to you has any power over you.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Sometimes a scream is better than a thesis.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year. He is rich who owns the day, and no one owns the day who allows it to be invaded with fret and anxiety. Finish every 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; begin it well and serenely, with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense. This new day is too dear, with its hopes and invitations, to waste a moment on the yesterdays.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson (Collected Poems and Translations)
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I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson (Essays of Ralph Waldo Emerson)
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Be yourself; no base imitator of another, but your best self. There is something which you can do better than another. Listen to the inward voice and bravely obey that. Do the things at which you are great, not what you were never made for.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson (Self-Reliance and Other Essays)
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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.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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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.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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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.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson (Nature and Selected Essays)
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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.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson (Essays: First Series)
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Sorrow looks back, Worry looks around, Faith looks up
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Nature and Books belong to the eyes that see them.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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That which we persist in doing becomes easier to do, not that the nature of the thing has changed but that our power to do has increased.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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The ornament of a house is the friends who frequent it.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Let us be silent, that we may hear the whisper of God.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. Nothing can bring you peace but the triumph of principles.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson (Ralph Waldo Emerson on Self Reliance)
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People only see what they are prepared to see.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson (The Essential Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson)
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Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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In a library we are surrounded by many hundreds of dear friends imprisoned by an enchanter in paper and leathern boxes.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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For everything you have missed, you have gained something else, and for everything you gain, you lose something else.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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You have just dined, and however scrupulously the slaughterhouse is concealed in the graceful distance of miles, there is complicity.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Life is short, but there is always time enough for courtesy.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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All my best thoughts were stolen by the ancients.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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You are constantly invited to be what you are.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson (Self-Reliance)
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Common sense is genius dressed in its working clothes.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Some books leave us free and some books make us free.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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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. . . .
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Even in the mud and scum of things, something always, always sings.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Of all the ways to lose a person, death is the kindest.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson (Self-Reliance and Other Essays)
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He who is in love is wise and is becoming wiser, sees newly every time he looks at the object beloved, drawing from it with his eyes and his mind those virtues which it possesses.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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None of us will ever accomplish anything excellent or commanding except when he listens to this whisper which is heard by him alone.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Life is a series of surprises and would not be worth taking or keeping if it were not.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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We are always getting ready to live, but never living.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson (Selected Works: Essays, Poems, and Dispatches with Introduction)
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Love, and you shall be loved.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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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.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Fear always springs from ignorance.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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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.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Beauty without expression is boring.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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This is my wish for you: Comfort on difficult days, smiles when sadness intrudes, rainbows to follow the clouds, laughter to kiss your lips, sunsets to warm your heart, hugs when spirits sag, beauty for your eyes to see, friendships to brighten your being, faith so that you can believe, confidence for when you doubt, courage to know yourself, patience to accept the truth, Love to complete your life.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall. Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day. β€” 'Ah, so you shall be sure to be misunderstood.' β€” 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.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson (Self-Reliance)
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The years teach much the days never know.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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For each new morning with its light, For rest and shelter of the night, For health and food, for love and friends, For everything Thy goodness sends.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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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.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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The wise man in the storm prays God not for safety from danger but for deliverance from fear.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Be good to your work, your word, and your friend.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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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.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Bad times have a scientific value. These are occasions a good learner would not miss.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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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.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Many eyes go through the meadow, but few see the flowers in it
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson (Self-Reliance and Other Essays)
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Nothing is more simple than greatness; indeed, to be simple is to be great.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Don't be pushed by your problems. Be led by your dreams.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson (Conduct of Life: A Philosophical Reading)
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We acquire the strength we have overcome.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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A child is a curly, dimpled lunatic.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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If the stars should appear but one night every thousand years how man would marvel and adore.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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There is one other reason for dressing well, namely that dogs respect it, and will not attack you in good clothes.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Every wall is a door.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson (Self-Reliance)
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I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, the old and the new.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Speak what you think today in hard words and tomorrow speak what tomorrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said today.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson (Self-Reliance)
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Treat a man as he is, and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he could be, and he will become what he should be.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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The best lightning rod for your protection is your own spine.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Trust instinct to the end, even though you can give no reason.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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God will not have his work made manifest by cowards
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Ralph Waldo Emerson (Self-Reliance)
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The happiest man is he who learns from nature the lesson of worship
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Ralph Waldo Emerson (Nature)
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Imitation is suicide.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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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.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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The Artist always has the masters in his eyes.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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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.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Ne te quaesiveris extra." (Do not seek for things outside of yourself)
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Ralph Waldo Emerson (Self-Reliance and Other Essays)
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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.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson (Essays Including Essays, First & Second Series, English Traits, Nature & Considerations by the Way)
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I am ashamed to think how easily we capitulate to badges and names, to large societies and dead institutions.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson (Self-Reliance)
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It is one of the beautiful compensations of life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Whatever course you decide upon there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires....courage.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Some people will tell you there is a great deal of poetry and fine sentiment in a chest of tea.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson (Letters and Social Aims)
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There is a time in every man's education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better, for worse, as his portion; that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given to him to till. The power which resides in him is new in nature, and none but he knows what that is which he can do, nor does he know until he has tried.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson (Self Reliance)
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In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts; they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson (Self-Reliance)
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What I need is someone who will make me do what I can.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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What is success? To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate the beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch Or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded!
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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My life is not an apology, but a life. It is for itself and not for a spectacle. I much prefer that it should be of a lower strain, so it be genuine and equal, than that it should be glittering and unsteady.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson (Self-Reliance)
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Fear defeats more people than any other one thing in the world.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Riding a horse is not a gentle hobby, to be picked up and laid down like a game of solitaire. It is a grand passion. It seizes a person whole and once it has done so, he/she will have to accept that his life will be radically changed.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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The end of the human race will be that it will eventually die of civilization.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Scatter joy!
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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The secret of education lies in respecting the pupil.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Life consists of what man is thinking about all day.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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It is a happy talent to know how to play.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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I dream of a better tomorrow, where chickens can cross the road and not be questioned about their motives.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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In order for one to learn the important lessons of life, one must first overcome a fear each day.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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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.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson (Nature and Selected Essays)
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There are books . . . which rank in our life with parents and lovers and passionate experiences.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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I like the silent church before the service begins, better than any preaching.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson (Self-Reliance and Other Essays)
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Its the not the Destination, It's the journey.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson (Self-Reliance)
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The world makes way for the man who knows where he is going
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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The ancestor of every action is a thought.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Whatever games are played with us, we must play no games with ourselves, but deal in our privacy with the last honesty and truth.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson (The Essential Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson)
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The reward of a thing well done is having done it.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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There are many things of which a wise man might wish to be ignorant
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Your actions speak so loudly, I can not hear what you are saying.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Money often costs too much
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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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.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Colleges hate geniuses, just as convents hate saints.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Be an opener of doors
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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The First wealth is health.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Tis the good reader that makes the good book.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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The world belongs to the energetic.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Character is higher than intellect. A great soul will be strong to live as well as think.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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There is no beautifier of complexion, or form, or behavior, like the wish to scatter joy and not pain around us.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Every spirit builds itself a house; and beyond its house, a world; and beyond its world a heaven. Know then, that the world exists for you: build, therefore, your own world.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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If I have lost confidence in myself, I have the universe against me.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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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.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Insist on yourself; never imitate. Your own gift you can present every moment with the cumulative force of a whole life's cultivation; but of the adopted talent of another you have only an extemporaneous half possession. That which each can do best, none but his Maker can teach him.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson (Self-Reliance)
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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.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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The religion of one age is the literary entertainment of the next.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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One of the illusions of life is that the present hour is not the critical, decisive hour. Write it on your hear that every day is the best day of the year.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Don't waste yourself in rejection, nor bark against the bad, but chant the beauty of the good.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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We boil at different degrees.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Every sweet has its sour; every evil its good.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Every man is a divinity in disguise, a god playing the fool.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Great men are they who see that spiritual is stronger than any material force, that thoughts rule the world.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Go oft to the house of thy friend, for weeds choke the unused path.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Hitch your wagon to a star.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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People destined to meet will do so, apparently by chance, at precisely the right moment.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Thou art to me a delicious torment.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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To go into solitude, a man needs to retire as much from his chamber as from society. I am not solitary whilst I read and write, though nobody is with me. But if a man would be alone, let him look at the stars.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson (Nature and Selected Essays)
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A man is known by the books he reads.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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A friend may be nature's most magnificent creation.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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The crowning fortune of a man is to be born to some pursuit which finds him employment and happiness, whether it be to make baskets, or broadswords, or canals, or statues, or songs.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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What I must do, is all that concerns me, not what the people think. This rule, equally arduous in actual and in intellectual life, may serve for the whole distinction between greatness and meanness. It is the harder, because you will always find those who think they know what is your duty better than you know it. 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.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson (Self-Reliance)
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Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better. What if they are a little coarse and you may get your coat soiled or torn? What if you do fail, and get fairly rolled in the dirt once or twice? Up again, you shall never be so afraid of a tumble.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson
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To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart, is true for all men,β€”that is genius. Speak your latent conviction, and it shall be the universal sense; for the inmost in due time becomes the outmost,β€”and our first thought is rendered back to us by the trumpets of the Last Judgment.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson (Self-Reliance)
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The lover of nature is he whose inward and outward senses are still truly adjusted to each other; who has retained the spirit of infancy even into the era of manhood. His intercourse with heaven and earth, becomes part of his daily food. In the presence of nature, a wild delight runs through the man, in spite of real sorrows...
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Ralph Waldo Emerson (Nature and Walking)
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A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within, more than the lustre of the firmament of bards and sages. Yet he dismisses without notice his thought, because it is his. In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts: they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson (Self-Reliance)
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Traveling is a fool's paradise. Our first journeys discover to us the indifference of places. At home I dream that at Naples, at Rome, I can be intoxicated with beauty, and lose my sadness. 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. I seek the Vatican, and the palaces. I affect to be intoxicated with sights and suggestions, but I am not intoxicated. My giant goes with me wherever I go.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson (Self-Reliance)
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At times the whole world seems to be in conspiracy to importune you with emphatic trifles. Friend, client, child, sickness, fear, want, charity, all knock at once at thy closet door and say,β€”'Come out unto us.' But keep thy state; come not into their confusion. The power men possess to annoy me I give them by a weak curiosity. No man can come near me but through my act.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson (Essays of Ralph Waldo Emerson)
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I appeal from your customs. I must be myself. I cannot break myself any longer for you, or you. If you can love me for what I am, we shall be happier. If you cannot, I will still seek to deserve that you should. I must be myself. I will not hide my tastes or aversions. I will so trust that what is deep is holy, that I will do strongly before the sun and moon whatever inly rejoices me and the heart appoints. If you are noble, I will love you; if you are not, I will not hurt you and myself by hypocritical attentions. If you are true, but not in the same truth with me, cleave to your companions; I will seek my own. I do this not selfishly but humbly and truly. It is alike your interest, and mine, and all men’s, however long we have dwelt in lies, to live in truth. Does this sound harsh to-day? You will soon love what is dictated by your nature as well as mine, and if we follow the truth it will bring us out safe at last.β€”But so may you give these friends pain. Yes, but I cannot sell my liberty and my power, to save their sensibility. Besides, all persons have their moments of reason, when they look out into the region of absolute truth; then will they justify me and do the same thing. The populace think that your rejection of popular standards is a rejection of all standard, and mere antinomianism; and the bold sensualist will use the name of philosophy to gild his crimes. But the law of consciousness abides.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson (Self-Reliance and Other Essays)
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Man is timid and apologetic; he is no longer upright; he dares not say "I think," "I am," but quotes some saint or sage. He is ashamed before the blade of grass or the blowing rose. These roses under my window make no reference to former roses or to better ones; they are for what they are; they exist with God to-day. There is no time to them. There is simply the rose; it is perfect in every moment of its existence. Before a leaf-bud has burst, its whole life acts; in the full-blown flower there is no more; in the leafless root there is no less. Its nature is satisfied, and it satisfies nature, in all moments alike. But man postpones or remembers; he does not live in the present, but with reverted eye laments the past, or, heedless of the riches that surround him, stands on tiptoe to foresee the future. He cannot be happy and strong until he too lives with nature in the present, above time.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson (Self-Reliance and Other Essays)
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There is a time in every man's education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better for worse as his portion; that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given to him to till. The power which resides in him is new in nature, and none but he knows what that is which he can do, nor does he know until he has tried. Not for nothing one face, one character, one fact makes much impression on him, and another none. This sculpture in the memory is not without preΓ©stablishcd harmony. The eye was placed where one ray should fall, that it might testify of that particular ray. We but half express ourselves, and are ashamed of that divine idea which each of us represents. It may be safely trusted as proportionate and of good issues, so it be faithfully imparted, but God will not have his work made manifest by cowards. A man is relieved and gay when he has put his heart into his work and done his best; but what he has said or done otherwise shall give hint no peace. It is a deliverance which does not deliver. In the attempt his genius deserts him; no muse befriends; no invention, no hope.
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Ralph Waldo Emerson (Self-Reliance)
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76. David Hume – Treatise on Human Nature; Essays Moral and Political; An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding 77. Jean-Jacques Rousseau – On the Origin of Inequality; On the Political Economy; Emile – or, On Education, The Social Contract 78. Laurence Sterne – Tristram Shandy; A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy 79. Adam Smith – The Theory of Moral Sentiments; The Wealth of Nations 80. Immanuel Kant – Critique of Pure Reason; Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysics of Morals; Critique of Practical Reason; The Science of Right; Critique of Judgment; Perpetual Peace 81. Edward Gibbon – The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire; Autobiography 82. James Boswell – Journal; Life of Samuel Johnson, Ll.D. 83. Antoine Laurent Lavoisier – TraitΓ© Γ‰lΓ©mentaire de Chimie (Elements of Chemistry) 84. Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison – Federalist Papers 85. Jeremy Bentham – Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation; Theory of Fictions 86. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe – Faust; Poetry and Truth 87. Jean Baptiste Joseph Fourier – Analytical Theory of Heat 88. Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel – Phenomenology of Spirit; Philosophy of Right; Lectures on the Philosophy of History 89. William Wordsworth – Poems 90. Samuel Taylor Coleridge – Poems; Biographia Literaria 91. Jane Austen – Pride and Prejudice; Emma 92. Carl von Clausewitz – On War 93. Stendhal – The Red and the Black; The Charterhouse of Parma; On Love 94. Lord Byron – Don Juan 95. Arthur Schopenhauer – Studies in Pessimism 96. Michael Faraday – Chemical History of a Candle; Experimental Researches in Electricity 97. Charles Lyell – Principles of Geology 98. Auguste Comte – The Positive Philosophy 99. HonorΓ© de Balzac – PΓ¨re Goriot; Eugenie Grandet 100. Ralph Waldo Emerson – Representative Men; Essays; Journal 101. Nathaniel Hawthorne – The Scarlet Letter 102. Alexis de Tocqueville – Democracy in America 103. John Stuart Mill – A System of Logic; On Liberty; Representative Government; Utilitarianism; The Subjection of Women; Autobiography 104. Charles Darwin – The Origin of Species; The Descent of Man; Autobiography 105. Charles Dickens – Pickwick Papers; David Copperfield; Hard Times 106. Claude Bernard – Introduction to the Study of Experimental Medicine 107. Henry David Thoreau – Civil Disobedience; Walden 108. Karl Marx – Capital; Communist Manifesto 109. George Eliot – Adam Bede; Middlemarch 110. Herman Melville – Moby-Dick; Billy Budd 111. Fyodor Dostoevsky – Crime and Punishment; The Idiot; The Brothers Karamazov 112. Gustave Flaubert – Madame Bovary; Three Stories 113. Henrik Ibsen – Plays 114. Leo Tolstoy – War and Peace; Anna Karenina; What is Art?; Twenty-Three Tales 115. Mark Twain – The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn; The Mysterious Stranger 116. William James – The Principles of Psychology; The Varieties of Religious Experience; Pragmatism; Essays in Radical Empiricism 117. Henry James – The American; The Ambassadors 118. Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche – Thus Spoke Zarathustra; Beyond Good and Evil; The Genealogy of Morals;The Will to Power 119. Jules Henri PoincarΓ© – Science and Hypothesis; Science and Method 120. Sigmund Freud – The Interpretation of Dreams; Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis; Civilization and Its Discontents; New Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis 121. George Bernard Shaw – Plays and Prefaces
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Mortimer J. Adler (How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading)