“A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is brave five minutes longer.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson
American essayist

Quotes on life and writing:

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.
Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air.
When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.
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.
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.
Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.
I cannot remember the books I’ve read any more than the meals I have eaten; even so, they have made me.
All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen.
Dare to live the life you have dreamed for yourself. Go forward and make your dreams come true.

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

Quotes on self-reliance:

It is not the length of life, but the depth.
The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.
The earth laughs in flowers.
Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.
Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.
Life is a journey, not a destination.
Without ambition one starts nothing. Without work one finishes nothing. The prize will not be sent to you. You have to win it.
Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.
Make the most of yourself….for that is all there is of you.
Be silly. Be honest. Be kind.



Ralph Waldo Emerson was an American lecturer, philosopher, essayist, and poet. He led the transcendentalist movement (belief in the inherent goodness of people and nature) of the mid-19th century and propagated his thoughts through dozens of published essays and over 1,500 public lectures across the United States.

Emerson formulated and expressed his philosophy of transcendentalism in his 1836 essay “Nature.” The next year, he gave a speech entitled “The American Scholar” which acclaimed writer Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. regarded to be the United States’ “Intellectual Declaration of Independence.”

Essays: First Series (1841) and Essays: Second Series (1844) are his first two collections of essays and represent the core of his thinking. The collections include his well-known essays “Self-Reliance”, “Circles”, “The Poet”, “The Over-Soul”, and “Experience.”

Emerson is among the linchpins of the American romantic movement. His work has greatly influenced the thinkers, writers and poets that followed him including the likes of Nietzsche, William James, Walt Whitman, and Henry David Thoreau.

In 1900, Harvard named a building, Emerson Hall, after him.