Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes On Success and Life (Self-Reliance)

Ralph Waldo Emerson quotes are still relevant today, and can be applied to a variety of situations. This blog is a collection of Emerson’s quotes, and is meant for anyone who is looking for some words of wisdom. His quotes are a source of inspiration for many, and provide valuable insight into the human condition. 



  • Ralph Waldo Emerson Short Biography
  • Emerson’s Work and Influence
  • 22 Thought-provoking Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes
  • 12 Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes on  Success
  • 19 Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes about Life 

Who was Ralph Waldo Emerson?

Born on May 25, 1803, Ralph Waldo Emerson would go on to become one of America’s most celebrated writers and philosophers. Emerson’s work is characterized by its philosophical nature and its focus on individualism and self-reliance.

Emerson was a prolific writer, penning essays, poems, and even a book of sermons. Despite his many accomplishments, Emerson’s personal life was often turbulent, and he struggled with bouts of depression and anxiety. Emerson died on April 27, 1882, at the age of 78.

Ralph Waldo Emerson is one of the most important and influential American writers of all time. His writing style was unique and ahead of its time, and his thoughts and ideas had a huge impact on the literary world.

He was a major inspiration to other writers, and his work helped to shape the American literary tradition. Emerson’s writings are still widely read and studied today, and his influence is felt in every aspect of American literature.

Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Work and Influence

Emerson’s essays, first published in 1841: First Series, are widely considered to be among the most influential works of American literature. Emerson wrote these essays as a man of letters, and a scholar, to advocate his transcendentalist ideas. 

His’s thought was and is a major influence on Unitarian Universalism. Emerson’s essays are by turns optimistic and pessimistic, humorous and serious, but always thought-provoking. His style is highly individualistic, and his writing is often compared to that of the Bible. 

His work helped to create and shape the American literary canon. Emerson‘s essays are now considered classics, and they continue to be read and studied by people all over the world.

Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes

ralph waldo emerson quotes success
  1. “The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.”

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

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

4. “Always do what you are afraid to do.”

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

6. “When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.”

7. “Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.”

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

9. “Common sense is genius dressed in its working clothes.”

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

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

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

13. “Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain.”

14. “For everything you have missed, you have gained something else, and for everything you gain, you lose something else.”

15. “Of all the ways to lose a person, death is the kindest.”

16. “Be good to your work, your word, and your friend.”

17. “Books are for nothing but to inspire”

18. “Nature and Books belong to the eyes that see them.”

19. “The wise man in the storm prays God not for safety from danger but for deliverance from fear.”

20. “Peace cannot be achieved through violence, it can only be attained through understanding.”

21. “Envy is ignorance, Imitation is Suicide.”

22. “People only see what they are prepared to see.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes on  Success

ralph waldo emerson nature quotes

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

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

25. “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”

26. “You become what you think about all day long.”

27. “When friendships are real, they are not glass threads or frost work, but the solidest things we can know.”

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

29. “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!”

30. “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.”

31. “Shallow men believe in luck or in circumstance. Strong men believe in cause and effect.”

32. “To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”

33. “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.”

34. “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. . . . ”

Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes about Life 

ralph waldo emerson famous quotes

35. “Life is a journey, not a destination.”

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

37. “Make the most of yourself….for that is all there is of you.”

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

39. “Life is a series of surprises and would not be worth taking or keeping if it were not.”

40. “Life consists of what man is thinking about all day.”

41. “Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air.”

42. “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.”

43. “It is not the length of life, but the depth.”

44. “Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.”

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

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

47. “It is easy to live for others, everybody does. I call on you to live for yourself.”

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

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

50. “Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. Nothing can bring you peace but the triumph of principles.”

51. “The happiest man is he who learns from nature the lesson of worship”

52. “Life is short, but there is always time enough for courtesy.”

53. “Love, and you shall be loved.”

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