This week marks the launch of my latest book, The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur. Each day this week, I’ve shared an excerpt from the book. I’m closing out this week with a reading centered around Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Self Reliance. The seminal transcendentalist work calls on us all to “insist on [ourselves]; never imitate.” These are great words for any entrepreneur to live by, and I hope you’ll take them to heart.
“Insist on yourself; never imitate. Your own gift, you can present every moment with the cumulative force of a whole life’s cultivation; but of the adopted talent of another, you have only an extemporaneous half possession. That which each can do best, none but their Maker can teach them. No one yet knows what it is, nor can, till that person has exhibited it. Where’s the master who could have taught Shakespeare?”
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self Reliance, 1841
The first sentence of this reading is perhaps the strongest call to action in the entire essay, “Insist on yourself; never imitate.” This mantra is all you need to take into every day, as you continue to explore that which only you can do best. You are your maker. Your own gift is a giant bowl of stew made up of every person, every interaction, every experience, every thought, and every observation. No one else has what you have. Today, insist on yourself.
Challenge question: What in your life or business feels like an imitation?