This week I took a break from reading Charles Haanel and turned once again to Ralph Waldo Emerson – reading his essay Self-Reliance. I find his work difficult to read, and I must look up a few words in the dictionary when I do, but he does have some interesting points to make. I kind of woke up when I read the line about the Hobgoblin – I recognized the quote but had not known the context:
A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Another tool (besides the dictionary) that I used, was a google search of “Emerson Self-Reliance simplified.” This yielded some great information. Such as the very first line in our text: “Ne te quaesiveris extra.” As I don’t read Latin, I had no idea what it meant, did not think of using Google Translate. According to Google Translate (now that I have thought of it) the translation is: “Do not look for yourself outside.” The website I found (a Cliff’s Notes website) used the translation of: “Do not seek outside yourself.” Similar, but different.
And that seems to be the theme of this essay. Don’t look for others or society to tell you how or what you should think or be or do. In fact, this whole Master Key Experience has been about us learning to think for ourselves and create our own future. Pretty cool thing to do.
And back to the Cliff’s Notes (credit to same link as above):
The lesson Emerson would have us learn? “Trust thyself,” a motto that ties together this first section of the essay. To rely on others’ judgments is cowardly, without inspiration or hope. A person with self-esteem, on the other hand, exhibits originality and is childlike — unspoiled by selfish needs — yet mature. It is to this adventure of self-trust that Emerson invites us: We are to be guides and adventurers, destined to participate in an act of creation modeled on the classical myth of bringing order out of chaos.
Another interesting read about thinking for oneself is Napoleon Hill’s Outwitting the Devil. This was super controversial as he speaks out against organized religion as taking away a person’s self-direction. And self-directed thinkers will always win over the devil.
And where do the Hobgoblins fit in? I just like that word, and foolish consistency sounds boring and pointless.
So my take-away: Be my Best Me, it doesn’t matter what others think of me. The final line from this essay by Emerson:
Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. Nothing can bring you peace but the triumph of principles.