“Whoso would be a man, must be a nonconformist. He who would gather immortal psalms must not be hindered by the name of goodness, but must explore if it be goodness. Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson
In perhaps his best known and most frequently quoted essay, “Self-Reliance,” Emerson expresses that to be fully alive one must resist social enculturation and be a nonconformist. Society expects conformity at the expense of personal liberty. It demands that you fit in or be an outcast. In contrast to this way of thinking, Emerson valued the integrity of the individual mind.
Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time.
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
What an incredible image; to leave footprints on the sands of time. Put another, to leave a legacy for future generations in the form of thoughts and actions that perhaps guide others to make their lives better. There are no accidents in this universe and the fact that you're reading this is also by design. We are all born to follow our passion and achieve greatness in life.