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Ralph Waldo Emerson on Self-Reliance, Cultivating Your Genius and The Curse Of Society

A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within... Yet he dismisses without notice his thought, because it is his. In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts: they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Ralph Waldo Emerson on Self-Reliance, Cultivating Your Genius and The Curse Of Society

Ralph Waldo Emerson on Self-Reliance, Cultivating Your Genius and The Curse Of Society

https://mystudentvoices.com/ralph-waldo-emerson-on-self-reliance-cultivating-your-genius-and-the-curse-of-society-3805ce67981e

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Key Ideas

A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within... Yet he dismisses without notice his thought, because it is his. In every work of geniu...

A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within... Yet he dismisses without notice his thought, because it is his. In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts: they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

In order to not feel alone, we have chosen to conform

We crave solitude but love companionship. It is the cruel paradox of the human experience.

"It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness ...

"It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude."

  - Ralph Waldo Emerson

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Self-Reliance

It's "a reliance on internal resources to provide life with coherence (meaning) and fulfillment” (Baumeister, 1987: 171)."

Ralph Waldo Emerson and Self-Reliance

Self-Reliance is the topic (and title) of an 1841 essay from US philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson.

He argues strongly that self-reliance, self-trust, and individualism, amongst other things, are ways that we can avoid the conformity imposed upon us.

Examples of Self-Reliance
  • Thinking independently: The ability to think autonomously goes hand in hand with trusting your own instinct.
  • Embracing your individuality.
  • Striving towards your own goals, bravely.

It’s important to remember that self-reliance is not about cutting yourself off from everybody.

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Questions about the meaning of life contain assumptions:
  • “What’s the meaning of life?” Assumes that there’s a single meaning.
  • “Does my life have meaning?” Assumes (or at least hints) at a “...
Problems of meaning=problems of insufficient value
Those who think life is meaningless feel that there is a gap between their expectations and reality: between the degree of value that life should have and the degree of value that it actually has. - Iddo Landau
To find meaning in life, we can either:
  1. Add more value: identify activities that are valuable to us  or we can remove activities that reduce value.
  2. Change our thinking: Perhaps our life already has sources of value, but we just aren’t looking at things in the right way. 
The Pareto Principle (the 80/20 Rule)
The Pareto Principle (the 80/20 Rule)

It is an idea discovered by an Italian economist. It says that power and wealth is distributed like a reversed hockey stick where a small percentage of the population (20%) owns majority of...

80/20 Rule All Around

The Pareto Principle could also be observed in almost every industry:

  • In software, 80% of the errors and crashes in a system would be eliminated by fixing the top 20% of the most reported bugs.
  • In sports, 20% of athletes participate in 80% of the big games
  • In business, 20% of the products bring in 80% of the revenue.
80/20 Rule: Threat or an Opportunity?

It is hard to accept the truth that there are inequalities everywhere. But depending on how you see it, the rule could help us filter out unnecessary data, better channel our resources, and make better decision in work and life.

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