Self-Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson

self reliance

An amazing book.

Some excerpts:

One of the most insidious forms that Resistance takes in the world of a writer is this: we’ll think a thought then dismiss it as too crazy, too extreme, too apart-from-the-norm or the expected. So we don’t write it, we don’t say it, we don’t even think it. Then a week later we’ll hear someone else articulate that very thought and, in his voice, it will ring true so that we can’t help but feel shame that we disowned it. Self-censorship is not just self-betrayal and self-abandonment (which would be bad enough), but soul-betrayal and betrayal of our Muse, our inner voice, our highest self.

–  Steve Pressfield


To believe in your own thought, to believe that what is true for you is true for all men, that is genius.

Speak your latent conviction, and it shall be the universal sense; for the inmost in due time becomes the outmost…

…the highest merit we ascribe to Moses, Plato, and Milton is, that they set naught at books and traditions, and spoke not what men, but what they, thought.

A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within more than the lustre of the firmament of bards and sages.

Yet he dismisses without notice his thought, because it is his.

In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts…

Else, tomorrow a stranger will say with masterly good sense precisely what we have thought and felt all the time, and we shall be forced to take with shame our own opinion from another.


That teacher at the front of the room knows a lot of things…but he doesn’t know what I know, and that’s my value.

– Colin Wright


envy is ignorance

imitation is suicide

The power which resides in him is new in nature, and none but he knows what that is which he can do, nor does he know until he has tried.

A man is relieved and gay when he has put his heart into his work and done his best; but what he has said and done otherwise, shall give him no peace.


if you think you can do it, or you think you can’t do it, you are right.

– henry ford


and we are now men…not minors and invalids in a protected corner, not cowards fleeing before a revolution, but guides, redeemers and benefactors, obeying the almighty effort, and advancing on Chaos and the Dark

…that distrust of a sentiment because our arithmetic has computed the strength and means opposed to our purpose…

infancy conforms to nobody

he cumbers himself never about consequences, about interests: he gives an independent, genuine verdict…but the man is, as it were, claspped into jail by his consciousness

(to be continued)




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