This famous assertion from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay “Heroism,” published in 1841, floated to the top of my mind while – of all things! – attending a technology conference. The keynote speaker, author of the upcoming book Strive: How Doing the Things Most Uncomfortable Leads to Success, made a case for embracing things that are outside of our comfort zones – especially technology. Emerson’s advocacy for facing our fears is at the heart of his transcendentalist philosophy of being independent, disregarding authority, and relying on direct experience. It’s hard to imagine what Emerson would have made of this current application of his advice.
Emerson, Ralph Waldo. “Herorism.” Emerson’s Essays. Harper & Row, 1951, p. 185.