Ralph Waldo Emerson was one of America’s most widely-recognized 19th century writers. Many people do not realize how influential he was in crafting American beliefs on individualism, transcendentalism, and other topics. Sunday of this week marked the 211th birthday of Emerson, and an occasion to take a look at his life, his works, and his wisdom.
Born in Boston, Massachusetts Emerson is well-known for his creation of a philosophy called Transcendentalism. He wrote an essay in 1836 titled “Nature” in which he explained his beliefs. He continued to influence Americans’ intellectual movement through essays, poems, and lectures throughout his entire life.
Topics that consumed his writing for decades were individualism, freedom, the power of the human intellect, philosophy, and the relationship of man to nature. His words influenced writers and academics for more than 175 years.
At NaQ we wanted to give you a taste of Emerson’s knowledge with some of his best quotes. As you go about your week, perhaps these quotes will help to encourage you to learn more about the world or inspire you to be a better person. We hope you enjoy them!
On what is important in a person: “What lies behind us, and what lies before us are but tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”
On the importance of individualism: “The best lightning rod for your protection is your own spine.”
On doing a good job: “The reward of a thing well done, is to have done it.”
On helping others: “It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life, that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.”
On decision: “The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.”
We hope you found these quotes to be interesting and inspiring. If you know of any other great Emerson quotes, please contact us and let us know what you think is missing!