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7 Principles To Create Meaningful Work From Emerson’s Self Reliance

How does one truly create meaningful work?

Everyone is tired of being a cog in a wheel.

I’m convinced Ralph Waldo Emerson is one of the best thinkers to progress today’s workforce — particularly millennials. Emerson, Thoreau, and many others grouped into the transcendentalism movement changed the course of America. Core beliefs around transcendentalism maintain people and nature are inherently good and human potential is limitless. This is just the start. Self-reliance (eloquently extolled below) and independence are staples in their beliefs — similar to the generation of workers entering the workforce today. Reminisce back to history class, transcendentalism took momentum during the 1820’s and 1830’s. We were decades away from the Civil War ripping apart the country and not too distant from our independence as a nation. 

According to historians, “transcendentalism is a superfluous word that describes a very simple idea. People, men and women equally, have knowledge about themselves and the world around them that “transcends” or goes beyond what they can see, hear, taste, touch or feel. This knowledge comes through intuition and imagination not through logic or the senses. People can trust themselves to be their own authority on what is right.”

This type of thinking produced an idealism in America never experienced before. Instead of looking at Europe for inspiration and eventual imitation, it was advocated to dig deep in ourselves, into nature, into art, and through work for answers to life’s most perplexing questions.

This PDF is not about dropping your job and traveling the world to be a travel blogger. It’s about inspiring you and your team to question your own answers and dig a bit deeper into your own self   

We’ve dissected Emerson’s Essay: “Self Reliance” and distilled 7 takeaways. Our intent is to transfer inspiration by highlighting how he conveyed his beliefs with his writings — particularly around meaningful work. After reading, you will have confidence to direct your team on beliefs that shaped some of the most profound philosophies in history.