Self-Reliance By Ralph Waldo Emerson | Audio Books

Podcast Transcript Excerpt: Whoso would be a man or woman must be a nonconformist. Whosoever seeks after the creative life of the spirit must not be hindered by the name of goodness, but must explore whether it BE goodness. Good and bad are but names very readily given to this or that. The only right is that which follows your inner spirit and guiding light. The only wrong is that which dims this divine light.

Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind. Absolve yourself to yourself, and you shall unlock the door to your destiny.

I am ashamed to think how easily we capitulate to badges, titles, and dead institutions. Every individual who society deems decent and well-spoken affects and sways me more than what is right. We ought to remain strong and vital, and speak the rude truth in every way.

Though we may come off occasionally as impolite or graceless, the truth is handsomer than the affectation of love. Your goodness must have some edge to it—else it have none. Steel your courage. Be prepared to shun father and mother and wife and brother, when your genius calls you. Should they ask you why, simply reply, “Whim.” Let’s hope, of course, that it is somewhat better than a whim, but we cannot spend the day in explanation.

Do not feel compelled to explain to others why you seek out or why you exclude certain people from your circle of friends and confidants. Your life is for itself and not for a spectacle. But seek out a life that is of a humble strain, so that it is genuine and solid, rather than glittering and unsteady.

Your primary concern should be what you feel “called” to do, not what other people think. This rule is hard to keep, both in real life and in our intellectual life, yet it is what separates greatness from the commonplace….

Read The Entire Adapted Essay in Evergreen: 50 Inspirational Life Lessons

50 Inspirational Life Lessons

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