The Thought for the Day – Ralph Waldo Emerson

If the single man plant himself indomitably on his instincts, and there abide, the huge world will come round to him. – Ralph Waldo Emerson


Ralph Waldo Emerson was an American poet, essayist and lecturer. He was ordained as a pastor in 1829 and was also chaplain of the Massachusetts legislature. Later, Emerson found himself disagreeing with the Church and in a famous 1938 address at Harvard Divinity School said moral intuition is a better guide than religious doctrine and said that while Jesus was great he was not God. This ensured Emerson was not invited to speak at Harvard for 30 years. Emerson was also a friend and mentor to Henry David Thoreau, who from time to time also appears in this feature.

We all have instincts. We all have something inside us telling us how we should go about living our lives. Those that get on this world listen to and trust their instincts. Though they do not succeed at everything – or even most things – they try, they are not looking back wondering what might have been. 

Sometimes our instincts might not appear trusty, but it is important we do not confuse instincts with desires. Desire might tell us it is a good idea to put moves on someone we shouldn’t, but somewhere our instincts are informing us it really isn’t and part of the lessons we learn in this life are differentiating between the two.

Often times our instincts are showing us a path that is not easy. That’s OK. Since they come from inside, our instincts are completely in tune with us and they will never tell us to try something we cannot do. They will always send us on a path to do something we have a knack for. For example, you are reading this – and everything else I write – because my instincts tell me to write. I have a knack for this. On the other hand, my instincts do not tell me to go and open an auto repair shop. Your instincts and your talents always walk hand in hand with what you are good at.

…the huge world will come round to him.

What are your instincts telling you to do? Are you listening to them? We should be. Our instincts are a built-in autopilot that will take our lives exactly where they were meant to go.

The Thought for the Day runs regularly. Quotes are from Gaylon’s private stock.

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