22 Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes for a Quick Boost of Inspiration

Ralph Waldo Emerson was an American essayist, orator and poet who lead the Transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century.

He was an innovative thinker for his time, someone who was the mentor of Henry David Thoreau and sighted as a heavy influence by Friedrich Nietzche.

Emerson’s words have gone on to inspire millions all around the world for over 150 years, their simplicity allowing them to transcend cultural differences and stay relevant over time.

Here are 22 Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes for some quick inspiration to brighten up your day.

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

“He who is not every day conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

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

“What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“To be great is to be misunderstood.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The first wealth is health.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“We become what we think about all day long.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“When it is dark enough, only then can you see the stars.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Every man I meet is in some way my superior.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The creation of a thousand forests is one acorn.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Science does not know its debt to imagination.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“We gain the strength of the temptation we resist.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“It is not the length of life, but the depth.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“When nature has work to be done, she creates a genius to do it.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Never lose an opportunity for seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God’s handwriting.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“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.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Attention Pick the Brain Readers! I hope you enjoyed this post.

As a thank you for reading this post, I want to offer you a free copy our new eBook:

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Ben is a freelance writer, and the co-creator of Project Monkey Mind—a new blog for the 21st century solopreneur and young professional who wants to take control of their minds, smash through their limitations, and lead a life worth living.


Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.

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