Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes

I hope you enjoy this vast collection of Ralph Waldo Emerson quotes. Enjoy his classic wisdom. There is a reason his quotes have stood the test of time.

Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes Index

Adversity
Aging
Anger
Be Yourself
Beauty
Character
Children
Common Sense
Courage
Curiosity
Enthusiasm
Excellence
Faith
Fear
Friends
Giving
God/Spirituality
Good Advice
Health
Hero
Illusion
Imagination
Insightful
Inspirational
Leadership
Life
Love/Passion
Money Matters
Nature
Opportunity
Peace
Perseverance
Profound
Strength
Success
Thought
Time
Truth
Wisdom
Worry

Adversity

"Every wall is a door."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"When it is dark enough, you can see the stars."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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

"Bad times have a scientific value. These are occasions a good learner would not miss."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Every man in his lifetime needs to thank his faults."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Aging

"The age of a woman doesn't mean a thing. The best tunes are played on the oldest fiddles."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Getting old is a fascination thing. The older you get, the older you want to get."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"As we grow old, the beauty steals inward."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Anger

"For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Be Yourself

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

"Trust your instinct to the end, though you can render no reason."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"We must be our own before we can be another's."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Insist on yourself; never imitate... Every great man is unique."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Beauty

"Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God's handwriting."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Beauty is an outward gift, which is seldom despised, except by those to whom it has been refused."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Beauty without expression is boring."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Beauty without grace is the hook without the bait."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Love of beauty is taste. The creation of beauty is art."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Character

"Character is higher than intellect. A great soul will be strong to live as well as think."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Judge of your natural character by what you do in your dreams."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"People do not seem to realize that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Children

"We find delight in the beauty and happiness of children that makes the heart too big for the body."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Children are all foreigners."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"There was never a child so lovely but his mother was glad to get him to sleep."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Common Sense

"Common sense is genius dressed in its working clothes."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Nothing astonishes men so much as common sense and plain dealing."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Society is always taken by surprise at any new example of common sense."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Courage

"A great part of courage is the courage of having done the thing before."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Every man has his own courage, and is betrayed because he seeks in himself the courage of other persons."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"There is always safety in valor."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Curiosity

"Curiosity is lying in wait for every secret."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Men love to wonder, and that is the seed of science."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Enthusiasm

"Enthusiasm is the mother of effort, and without it nothing great was ever achieved."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Excellence

"Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The reward of a thing well done is having done it."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"None of us will ever accomplish anything excellent or commanding except when he listens to this whisper which is heard by him alone."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Faith

"We are born believing. A man bears beliefs as a tree bears apples."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The faith that stands on authority is not faith."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Our faith comes in moments; our vice is habitual."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Fear

"Do the thing we fear, and death of fear is certain."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Always do what you are afraid to do."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Fear defeats more people than any other one thing in the world."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"He who is not everyday conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Friends

"A friend may well be reckoned the masterpiece of nature."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Friendship, like the immortality of the soul, is too good to be believed."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"A man's growth is seen in the successive choirs of his friends."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The only way to have a friend is to be one."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Who hears me, who understands me, becomes mine, a possession for all time."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Giving

"It is one of the beautiful compensations in this life that no one can sincerely try to help another without helping himself."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"We are rich only through what we give, and poor only through what we refuse."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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God/Spirituality

"All I have seen teaches me to trust the creator for all I have not seen."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Every natural fact is a symbol of some spiritual fact."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"God enters by a private door into every individual."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Let us be silent, that we may hear the whispers of the gods."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"No man ever prayed heartily without learning something."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The highest revelation is that God is in every man."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"We see God face to face every hour, and know the savor of Nature."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Good Advice

"To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children...to leave the world a better place...to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Happy is the hearing man; unhappy the speaking man."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Make yourself necessary to somebody."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Trust men and they will be true to you; treat them greatly and they will show themselves great."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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

"Don't waste yourself in rejection, nor bark against the bad, but chant the beauty of the good."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Life is not so short but that there is always time for courtesy."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"A man is relieved and gay when he has put his heart into his work and done his best; but what he has said or done otherwise shall give him no peace."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Health

"The first wealth is health."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"All diseases run into one, old age."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Hero

"A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is brave five minutes longer."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Every hero becomes a bore at last."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Illusion

"There are as many pillows of illusion as flakes in a snow-storm. We wake from one dream into another dream."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"There is an optical illusion about every person we meet."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Imagination

"In art, the hand can never execute anything higher than the heart can imagine."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Science does not know its debt to imagination."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Insightful

"As long as a man stands in his own way, everything seems to be in his way."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Before we acquire great power we must acquire wisdom to use it well."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Cause and effect are two sides of one fact."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Every man I meet is in some way my superior."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Every man supposes himself not to be fully understood or appreciated."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Fiction reveals truth that reality obscures."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"For everything you have missed, you have gained something else, and for everything you gain, you lose something else."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"If you would lift me up you must be on higher ground."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"In every society some men are born to rule, and some to advise."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"In skating over thin ice our safety is in our speed."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Men are what their mothers made them."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Our admiration of the antique is not admiration of the old, but of the natural."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"People only see what they are prepared to see."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"People that seem so glorious are all show; underneath they are like everyone else."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Reality is a sliding door."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Revolutions go not backward."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The best effort of a fine person is felt after we have left their presence."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The greatest gift is a portion of thyself."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The reason why men do not obey us, is because they see the mud at the bottom of our eye."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The reason why the world lacks unity, and lies broken and in heaps, is, because man is disunited with himself."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The value of a principle is the number of things it will explain."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"There is more difference in the quality of our pleasures than in the amount."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"We are by nature observers, and thereby learners. That is our permanent state."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"What we seek we shall find; what we flee from flees from us."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"What you are comes to you."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Who you are speaks so loudly I can't hear what you're saying."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Inspirationall

"Hitch your wagon to a star."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The world is all gates, all opportunities, strings of tension waiting to be struck."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Leadership

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

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Life

"All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Don't be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"As soon as there is life there is danger."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"For every benefit you receive a tax is levied."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"It is not length of life, but depth of life."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"It is the quality of the moment, not the number of days, or events, or of actors, that imports."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Life consists in what a man is thinking of all day."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"There is no chance and anarchy in the universe. All is system and gradation. Every god is there sitting in his sphere."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"We are always getting ready to live but never living."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Love/Passion

"All mankind love a lover."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"It is a fact often observed, that men have written good verses under the inspiration of passion, who cannot write well under other circumstances."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Passion rebuilds the world for the youth. It makes all things alive and significant."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Money Matters

"A man in debt is so far a slave."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"A man is usually more careful of his money than he is of his principles."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Money often costs too much."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The desire of gold is not for gold. It is for the means of freedom and benefit."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The value of a dollar is social, as it is created by society."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Nature

"Earth laughs in flowers."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Flowers... are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty outvalues all the utilities of the world."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Everything in Nature contains all the powers of Nature. Everything is made of one hidden stuff."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"If the stars should appear but one night every thousand years how man would marvel and stare."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Nature always wears the colors of the spirit."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Nature is a mutable cloud which is always and never the same."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The sky is the daily bread of the eyes."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have never been discovered."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"When nature has work to be done, she creates a genius to do it."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Opportunity

"No great man ever complains of want of opportunity."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Every wall is a door."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"America is another name for opportunity."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Peace

"Nobody can bring you peace but yourself."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Peace cannot be achieved through violence, it can only be attained through understanding."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The real and lasting victories are those of peace, and not of war."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Perseverance

"Every artist was first an amateur."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Profound

"Treat a man as he is, and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he could be, and he will become what he should be."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Nothing external to you has any power over you."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"There is a tendency for things to right themselves."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"No change of circumstances can repair a defect of character."
~ 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

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Strength

"We gain the strength of the temptation we resist."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"We acquire the strength we have overcome."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Success

"Great hearts steadily send forth the secret forces that incessantly draw great events."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Great men are they who see that spiritual is stronger than any material force - that thoughts rule the world."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"A great man is always willing to be little."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"To be great is to be misunderstood."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"We aim above the mark to hit the mark."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Win as if you were used to it, lose as if you enjoyed it for a change."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Thought

"A man is what he thinks about all day long."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Our best thoughts come from others."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The ancestor of every action is a thought."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The revelation of thought takes men out of servitude into freedom."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Time

"Guard well your spare moments. They are like uncut diamonds. Discard them and their value will never be known. Improve them and they will become the brightest gems in a useful life."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The years teach much which the days never know."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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

"With the past, I have nothing to do; nor with the future. I live now."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Truth

"Truth is the property of no individual but is the treasure of all men."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Truth is handsomer than the affectation of love. Your goodness must have some edge to it, else it is none."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Wisdom

"Knowledge is knowing that we cannot know."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Genius always finds itself a century too early."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Some books leave us free and some books make us free."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The invariable mark of wisdom is to see the miraculous in the common."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The man of genius inspires us with a boundless confidence in our own powers."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The sum of wisdom is that time is never lost that is devoted to work."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"We are wiser than we know."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Wisdom has its root in goodness, not goodness its root in wisdom."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Worry

"As a cure for worrying, work is better than whiskey."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Little minds have little worries, big minds have no time for worries."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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The Dash

It's not the date you were born, or the date you died, that really matters. It's "the dash" between those years and what you do with it, to make a difference with your life.