Ralph Waldo Emerson Famous Quotes on Nature & Motivation

ralph waldo emerson famous quotes

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Written by: Ashley Vitiello
Fact Checked by: Derek Vitiello

Updated Apr 22, 2023

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) was one of the most famous and influential transcendentalists, along with Henry David Thoreau. Emerson saw a direct connection between nature, man, and God, and his reflections on nature and beyond led him to become a prolific essayist, poet, and an advocate for social reforms. To this day, he is one of the most quoted people of all time, especially when it comes to quotes about nature, wisdom, and motivational quotes about a life well lived. 

Here we’ve assembled our favorite quotes from Ralph Waldo Emerson, with a particular emphasis on musings that inspire wanderlust and praise nature, as well as motivational quotes to be yourself and take that leap of faith to live your best life. 

Table Of Contents

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Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes About Nature

1. “Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air.”

ralph waldo emerson quote nature

2. “When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.”

3. “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

ralph waldo emerson famous quote

4. “Never lose an opportunity to see anything beautiful, for beauty is God’s handwriting.”

5. “Let us be silent, that we may hear the whispers of the gods.”

6. “Adopt the pace of nature, her secret is patience.”

ralph waldo emerson quote nature

7. “The earth laughs in flowers.”

ralph waldo emerson quotes flowers

8. “Flowers, because they are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty outvalues all the utilities of the world.”

9. “He cannot be happy and strong until he too lives with nature in the present, above time.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson Motivational Quotes

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

11. “Life is a journey, not a destination.”

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

ralph waldo emerson nature quote

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

14. “Dare to live the life you have dreamed for yourself. Go forward and make your dreams come true.”

ralph waldo emerson motivational quote

15. “Always do what you are afraid to do.”

16. “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”

17. “Write on your heartthat every day is the best day in the year.He is rich who owns the day, and no one owns the daywho allows it to be invaded with fret and anxiety.

Finish every 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, with too high a spiritto be cumbered with your old nonsense.

This new day is too dear,with its hopes and invitations,to waste a moment on the yesterdays.”

ralph waldo emerson nature quote

Ralph Waldo Emerson Quote to Laugh Often

18. “To laugh often and much; to win the respect of the intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the beauty in other; to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden path, or a redeemed social condition; to know that one life has breathed easier because you lived here. This is to have succeeded.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes to be Yourself

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

20. “The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.”

21. “Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.”

22. “Make the most of yourself…..for that is all there is of you.”

23. “Be silly. Be honest. Be kind.”

Ashley is an adventurous soul who loves all things nature, especially warm sunshine, wildflowers, scenic snacking, and mushrooms. She is an avid outdoor enthusiast who has spent years enjoying time outside doing things like hiking, camping, and rock climbing.
Her goal with Know Nothing Nomads is to make these hobbies easily accessible through knowledgeable content and how-to’s based on all the stuff she’s learned on her journey. If she isn’t writing an article, she’s probably in a forest looking at big mountain views and tiny pieces of moss on the side of the trail.

Derek, Co-Founder at Know Nothing Nomads

My goal with my writing and Know Nothing Nomads as a whole is to share my passions of hiking, camping, and a love of the outdoors with our readers. Making the difficult and uncertain feel more approachable to people that might not know enough to feel comfortable taking their first steps into the wilderness is a driving factor for me. When I’m not writing you can find me on a trail, in a forest, or next to a river with hiking shoes on my feet and a fly rod somewhere close by.

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