What I Must Do Is All That Concerns Me


“What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think. This rule, equally arduous in actual and intellectual life, may serve for the whole distinction between greatness and meanness. It is the harder because you will always find those who think they know what is your duty better than you know it. It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after your 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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    • Mohammed Rafiq
    • March 31, 2009

    I really enjoy your thoughts and inspirational thoughts.

    • Jeff Carreira
    • March 31, 2009

    This is a fantastic quote.

    • Vivian
    • April 2, 2009

    I love Emerson’s works. This is one of my favorites. Thanks for posting it!

  1. Reply

    I love this one! Even though I enjoy Emerson’s quotes, I did not know this one. Timeless thoughts.

    • trudy
    • April 4, 2009

    This qoute defines my current quest of being an independent thinker. I can’t help but believe that indeed genius is developed by an independent mind.

    • tika
    • January 22, 2010

    what does this quote mean?

    • Vanessa-Rae
    • November 11, 2010

    What i think it means is pretty much dont be ashamed to do something even if people are thinking a negative thought. Do what YOU have to and dont care about what people THINK about you. Thats my opinoin.

    • John
    • May 20, 2011

    Emerson is an American great. This is fantastic, thank you for sharing.

    • John
    • May 20, 2011

    The quote is one of many (and you will find many from Jefferson, Payne, etc.) that expresses American individualism. It’s one of the things that makes this country great, and our classic writers clearly recognized that they had a good thing going. Emerson is just one of the many classic poets/writers that expressed what individualism in this new and undeveloped world meant, and why this country needed leaders. It still holds true today (like all great works). Think for yourself. This is from his work called Self Reliance. That should tell you everything you need to know. If you’re impressed by this quote, I assure you that you will do just fine in life.

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