Happy Birthday, Ralph Waldo Emerson! 20 Of His Greatest Quotes To Inspire You

Essayist, lecturer and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson would have been 212 years old today. His ideas about nature, freedom and individualism not only influenced his contemporaries, but have continued to prove relevant nearly two centuries later.

To celebrate the birthday of the father of Transcendentalism, here are 20 of his quotes to hopefully inspire you to look inside and discover something within yourself.

"Good and bad are but names very readily transferable to that or this." — Self-Reliance

"Every touch should thrill. Every man should be so much an artist that he could report in conversation what had befallen him" — "The Poet"

"Earth laughs in flowers." — "Hamatreya"

"To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men, — that is genius." — Self-Reliance

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

"The first wealth is health."

"We must be our own before we can be another's." — "Friendship"

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

"Explore, and explore, and explore. Be neither chided nor flattered out of your position of perpetual inquiry ... Why should you renounce your right to traverse the star-lit deserts of truth, for the premature comforts of an acre, house, and barn? Truth also has its roof, and bed, and board. Make yourself necessary to the world, and mankind will give you bread, and if not store of it, yet such as shall not take away your property in all men's possessions, in all men's affections, in art, in nature, and in hope." — "Literary Ethics"

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

“When it is darkest, men see the stars.”

"Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be." — The Conduct Of Life

"Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow." —

"The ancestor of every action is a thought." — Spiritual Laws

“It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion; it is easy in solitude after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.” — Self-Reliance

“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”

“We are always getting ready to live, but never living.”

"It is not length of life, but depth of life."

“Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air.” — The Conduct Of Life

"Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense."

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