Henry David Thoreau on the importance of following your own path.

I was first exposed to the writings and thinking of Henry David Thoreau by a famous pen-pal author who included a bit of his writing in a letter I received my sophomore year in college. I quickly read his perennial classics, Walden and Civil Disobedience & Other Essays. Here are a few of Thoreau's quotes which have provided me direction and courage to follow my own path, I hope they do the same for you:

“All good things are wild and free.”

“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.” 

“This world is but canvas to our imaginations.”

“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.” 

“Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant?”

“Not till we are lost, in other words not till we have lost the world, do we begin to find ourselves, and realize where we are and the infinite extent of our relations.”

“Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.”

“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music he hears, however measured or far away.”

“I learned this, at least, by my experiment; that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours."

“Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.”

“Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.”


Walden was more than a transcendental philosopher and minimalist. He was an original thinker. His words are  probably more important today than ever. I would encourage you to pick the one quote above which resonated with you the most and meditate on it for the rest of today. And, maybe tomorrow, too.

Here's to dead poets and timeless truth...

Steve Knox


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