Unless You Try To Do Something Beyond Essay Examples

Note: This is a guest post by Josh Lipovetsky of Film Insight

Ralph Waldo Emerson. A literary pioneer. Not only did he find the basis of Transcendentalism, or Bright Romanticism writing; he made great contributions to the field of personal development, and gave us some great practical ideas about living, that we will ponder upon for centuries to come. He valued the individual over society, and had many works of literature to enforce his views. In his works, there were many inspirational quotes that reflected what an individual is. Emerson’s highest values were: courage, peace, and the power of the individual.

I have selected 6 quotes, which represent Ralph Waldo Emerson’s views on life. Each quote has its own meaning, and its own method of practical application.

“For everything you have missed, you have gained something else, and for everything you gain, you lose something else.”

Isn’t it true? Every opportunity, every chance that you take in life, is the sacrifice of another opportunity. By choosing to become a writer, you are sacrificing the opportunity to be something else, like an accountant. So what is the point of it all? The point is to stop worrying about missed opportunities, because you have no idea what could have been. Maybe if that milk hadn’t been spilled in the past, you would be in a better present situation? On the other hand, you might also be in a much worse present situation. Opportunities come and go; it is up to you, the individual, to make the best decision for yourself. Weigh the pros and cons of each decision, and know that you are giving up another opportunity. It could be better, it could be worse. It’s all part of the human being experience.

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

Let’s face it: There are always going to be certain people, that don’t want you to succeed. People who look at you weird when you do something right. Too many people act like robots in today’s society. They do what is expected of them, get their rewards, repeat. Expectations, Rewards, Repeat. Emerson could not stand this repetitive cycle. He believed that society turned people into something that they weren’t born to be. And as a person got older, it was harder and harder to break free from the strong grasp of society. What does it take to be yourself? For one, it takes a lot of courage, one of Emerson’s most favorite traits. Whenever someone goes against society standards, they will take a lot of heat for it. This resistance from others is just a sign that you are doing something right. No one said that being yourself was easy. Difficult? Yes. Rewarding? Extremely. In the end, the people that are able to go against the grain of society are the truly great people in our world.

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

When I get my promotion, I’ll really start living! When things have settled down, then I’ll do it! These are common phrases that you hear from people. Will the dust ever settle? No. Will you ever get the promotion? You might, but then you’ll come up with another excuse not to take action. The truth is that there are hundreds, if not thousands of excuses you can make not to take action. There is always a little voice inside your head, afraid of failure, and afraid of success. Your ability to truly live is dependent upon your ability to ignore that counterproductive voice inside your head. What you’re hearing is the voice of complacence. The moment you stop listening to it, is the moment you begin your real life. Until then, you will always be getting ready for a change in your life. But getting ready for something, and actually doing it, are twodifferent things entirely.

“Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.”

Life is all about learning new skills. Once you have acquired these skills, you must constantly seek to improve them. In your industry/job, there will always be people who are up-and-coming. These people will surpass you, unless you are constantly seeking to improve yourself. Like my former teacher once told me: “The moment you are satisfied with what you have, is the moment that someone else will take your spot in the race of life.” Emerson believed that life is about growing, and there was no point in living if you don’t constantly grow. No matter what you know, or how many skills you possess, there is always more to learn about your respective interests. You can always do a better job, regardless of how good you are at what you do.

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

Destiny is overrated. Yeah, I said it. There are too many people attached to the idea of ‘fate’, and ‘destiny’, that they believe they can lay back, do nothing, and their fate will take over. Well I have some bad news to those people: Your destiny is not looking very good! Is there any wildly successful person, off the top of your head, who got to where they are by doing nothing? No. People who are truly great don’t rely on the concept of fate/destiny. There is no proof/evidence to support its actual existence. So here is one of the keys to life: Live life like fate and destiny don’t exist. Decide what you want to be, pick out your future, and make your own destiny. After all, whoever we think we are, we become!

“Nothing can bring you peace but yourself”

Perhaps Emerson’s most powerful quote. Ultimate power to the individual. Who else but yourself can bring peace into your life? It hurts to say this, but horrible things happen every day. Murder, kidnapping, rape, you name it. It happens to amazing people. The external world is never peaceful. But you don’t have to suffer at the hands of other people. Until the day you die, you can choose to be at peace with the world. You can let go of your surroundings, and be one with nature. One of Emerson’s friends, Henry David Thoreau, believed in the peace of nature. He spent a couple of years submerged in nothing but the beauty of nature itself! Now that is how you find peace! But I’m not saying that you need to spend years in the wilderness to be at peace with yourself. I’m saying that you need to acknowledge your spirituality, and the peace that has been within you since birth. When we learn to find peace within ourselves, the world around us changes. We attract more external peace, while radiating a signal of internal peace! It’s strange, but that’s how life works. From the inside-out, not the outside-in.

The human spirit is as strong as can be. However, society has gradually weakened it. As children, we are born with our own respective traits, attitudes, and beliefs. We are our own person. However, as we get older, we conform to society, and lose our sense of individuality. But you know what I say? No! Emerson refused to give up his right to be different, and refused to conform to society’s standard. This is what every human being is meant to do. To go against the grain, is to find your own way of life. To do it your way, like it has never been done before!

Josh Lipovetsky started his business, Film Insight, when he was just 16 years old. He started it while hospitalized, after being inspired to write about life. He incorporates the ideas from our favorite movies, and personal development. If you like movies, and learning about life, you will love his website!

Photo by iChaz

Published on January 15, 2010

Ralph Waldo Emerson? Ronald E. Osborn? Anonymous?

Dear Quote Investigator: The following adage about personal growth has appeared in many self-help and motivational texts:

Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.

Often the words are attributed to the well-known transcendental philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson, but I have been unable to determine the source, and I am skeptical. Would you please examine the provenance of this saying?

Quote Investigator: Emerson died in 1882, and the statement has been attributed to him only in recent decades. No citation has been provided, and the linkage is not substantive.

The earliest evidence located by QI was published in “Forbes” magazine in March 1945. A long-standing feature of the periodical was a page titled “Thoughts on the Business of Life” which displayed miscellaneous quotations and aphorisms. A short passage of three sentences containing the maxim was credited to someone named Ronald E. Osborn. Bold face has been added to excerpts: 1

Undertake something that is difficult; it will do you good. Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.
—Ronald E. Osborn.

“Forbes” did not state where it had collected this quotation. News reports in the following years referred to speeches delivered by a professor of church history at Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana named Ronald E. Osborn, and it was possible that this religious orator and teacher was the quotesmith. 2 However, this identification is conjectural because of the existence of several individuals named Ronald E. Osborn.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

In June 1945 “The Nunda News” of Nunda, New York printed a filler item that precisely matched the quotation in “Forbes”, and the newspaper listed the same ascription to Ronald E. Osborn. 3

In 1950 a paper in San Antonio, Texas ran an advertisement for an office supply and furniture company that included a shortened and altered instance of the passage using the word “attempt”. No attribution was listed; instead, the work “selected” was specified: 4

Unless you attempt something beyond what you have already done, you will never grow!

The full version of the passage credited to Osborn continued to circulate. For example, in 1955 the “Trenton Evening Times” in New Jersey printed an article titled “Quotable Quotes” that included the text, and in 1958 the “Los Angeles Tribune” printed it as a filler item: 56

Undertake something that is difficult; it will do you good. Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.
—Ronald E. Osborn.

In 1988 a columnist in an Oklahoma City, Oklahoma newspaper ascribed the remark to an unnamed friend: 7

A friend says unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.

By the 1990s the saying had been reassigned to the prominent thinker Ralph Waldo Emerson instead of the uncelebrated Osborn. For example, a 1997 book titled “Solution-Focused Therapy with Children: Harnessing Family Strengths for Systemic Change” used the saying as a chapter epigraph: 8

Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.

In 2000 a writer in the national newspaper USA TODAY ascribed the adage to Emerson: 9

If something is nudging at you to challenge yourself and do more with your life, listen to that nudge. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.”

In conclusion, the passage in the 1945 citation should be credited to Ronald E. Osborn. The linkage of the saying to Ralph Waldo Emerson occurred many years after his death and the supporting evidence is not substantive.

Image Notes: Motorcycle picture from AleksandarCucu on Pixabay. Mountaineer picture from aatlas on Pixabay. Both images have been resized and cropped.

(This exploration was initiated by QI and was not based on a request from the public.)

This entry was posted in Ralph Waldo Emerson and tagged Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ronald E. Osborn on by garson.

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