There is a time in every man’s education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better or worse as his portion; that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given him to till.

Share with your friends

More from Ralph Waldo Emerson

I should as soon think of swimming across Charles River when I wish to go to Boston, as of reading all my books in originals when I have them rendered for me in my mother tongue.

Books

Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us, or we find it not.

Essays: First Series (1841) Essay XII, "Art"

Our fear of death is like our fear that summer will be short, but when we have had our swing of pleasure, our fill of fruit and our swelter of heat, we say we have had our day.

Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind. Absolve you to yourself, and you shall have the suffrage of the world.

Thought is the blossom; language the bud; action the fruit behind it.