Ralph Waldo Emerson
American Poet, Essayist

I have no expectation that any man will read history aright who thinks that what was done in a remote age, by men whose names have resounded far, has any deeper sense than what he is doing today. 

We but half express ourselves, and are ashamed of that divine idea which each of us represents.

Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities have 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.

If the single man plant himself indomitably on his instincts, and there abide, the huge world will come round to him.

Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.

All mankind love a lover.

The reward of a thing well done is to have done it.

Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.

Self-trust is the first secret of success.

Great men are they who see that spiritual is stronger than any material force; that thoughts rule the world.

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

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

Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you.

Many might go to Heaven with half the labor they go to hell.

Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.

Nothing external to you has any power over you.

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.

Nature magically suits a man to his fortunes, by making them the fruit of his character.

No matter how often you are defeated, you are born to victory.

Passion, though a bad regulator, is a powerful spring.

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

The essence of greatness is the perception that virtue is enough.

See only that thou work and thou canst not escape the reward.

The excellent is new forever.

Shallow men believe in luck, believe in circumstances: it was somebody's name, or he happened to be there at right time, or it was so then, and another day it would have been otherwise. Strong men believe in cause and effect.

A man is what he thinks about all day long.

Every great and commanding movement in the annals of the world is the triumph of enthusiasm. Nothing great was ever achieved without it.

A man is a method, a progressive arrangement, a selecting principle, gathering his like unto him wherever he goes. What you are comes to you.

A man makes inferiors his superiors by heat; self-control is the rule.

Big jobs usually go to the men who prove their ability to outgrow small ones.

For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind.

Commerce is of trivial import; love, faith, truth of character, the aspiration of man, these are sacred.

Earth laughs in flowers.

Great hearts steadily send forth the secret forces that incessantly draw great events.

He presents me with what is always an acceptable gift who brings me news of a great thought before unknown. He enriches me without impoverishing himself.

He who has a thousand friends has not a friend to spare,
And he who has one enemy shall meet him everywhere.

Here is the world, sound as a nut, perfect, not the smallest piece of chaos left, never a stitch nor an end, not a mark of haste, or botching, or second thought; but the theory of the world is a thing of shreds and patches.

It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after your own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps the perfect sweetness and independence of solitude.

If the single man plant himself indomitably on his instincts, and there abide, the huge world will come round to him.

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.

The glory of friendship is not in the outstretched hand, nor the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship; it is in the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when he discovers that someone else believes in him and is willing to trust him.

There is no prosperity, trade, art, city, or great material wealth of any kind, but if you trace it home, you will find it rooted in a thought of some individual man.

There is no thought in any mind, but it quickly tends to convert itself into power.

The world we live in is but thickened light.

The years teach much which the days never know.

We are always getting ready to live but never living.

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

There never was a child so lovely but his mother was glad to get him asleep.

Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.

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.

To different minds, the same world is a hell, and a heaven.

Welcome evermore to gods and men is the self-helping man. For him all doors are flung wide: him all tongues greet, all honors crown, all eyes follow with desire. Our love goes out to him and embraces him, because he did not need it.

When a resolute young fellow steps up to the great bully, the world, and takes him boldly by the beard, he is often surprised to find it comes off in his hand, and that it was only tied on to scare away the timid adventurers.

What school, college, or lecture bring men depends on what men bring to carry it home in.

Wisdom is to finish the moment, to find the journey's end in every step of the road, to live the greatest number of good hours.

Without ambition one starts nothing. Without work one finishes nothing. The prize will not be sent to you. You have to win it. The man who knows how will always have a job. The man who also knows why will always be his boss.

You shall have joy, or you shall have power, said God: you shall not have both.

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.

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 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.