The great thing about books is that they provide ideas for thought that are new to you. Like planting a seed in the ground, your own thoughts can grow from the ideas of someone else and today I am grateful for the many thoughts I have read from the great Ralph Waldo Emerson. When I read the words RWE has written, they always spark a new light of thought. Of Course, it would be unrealistic to share a million thoughts but here are a few favorites and the seeds they have cultivated in my mind.
This is a favorite quote for me because even though, as I have found new thoughts and Ideas in life, it seems like they have been around since at least the early 1800’s. I believe that if we can learn to not dwell on the past and/or worry about the future then it is possible to enjoy the moment. What is it that lies within each of us? Love? Understanding? Frustration? I believe it is the unlimited potential to be whatever it is we want to be.
“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be. “
I have long thought that we all have the ability to do whatever it is that we wish to do in our lives. It could be that you are going to be very smart, or very rich or both, but the ultimate decision in that equation lies with you and what you decide.
It doesn’t matter what you parents think, you family thinks, your teachers in school think, or anyone else because the only thought that counts is the one you have in your own head.
In the end, there is nobody that you have to rely on to be whatever it is that you want to be except for yourself, which is a freeing and scary proposition all in one.
“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
How often in life is the path of least resistance the one that everyone else follows. Sometimes it is the path of your life and the expectations that are acceptable by the rest of society. Often it is in the sphere of religion where you are expected to follow along, easily like a sheep. Sometimes it is the socially accepted cultural biases you are supposed to swallow like a mindless avatar. Yet the true greatness in a person can only be viewed fully when they step out of the path they are expected to follow and make their own way.
Not one new, innovative thought or activity would have ever been created or started unless there were individuals who made their own path and stuck to it regardless of the objections or negative thoughts of others.
“What you do speaks so loud I cannot hear what you say.”
I have known many people who want to give great advice, display superior leadership or express a great thought. Yet their actions in other areas of their lives or in the way they treat situations or people makes it impossible to hear what they have to say.
If you are going to speak one way, make sure your actions support that philosophy in all phases of your life. Otherwise, one’s hypocrisy is all that will be evident.
Often times I have had the virtues of Christianity told to me by a practitioner of that faith who in their lives are showing no virtue or only that which is convenient and is sure to attract the attention and admiration of others. These are hollow acts to me which distract from the message they are trying to get across.
This is true in everything that you do. Ralph Waldo Emerson’s thoughtful quote reminds us to be true in our words and our actions so that they are clearly working in concert.
So on this wonderfully sunny day, I am particularly grateful for the inspiring words of Ralph Waldo Emerson and I am thankful to share them with you!!