Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay, Self-Reliance, is a writing piece about his resentment of man’s conformity to social trends and expectations. Emerson’s core ideology of self-identity revolves around the quote, “what I must do is all that concerns me, not what people think.” Essentially, Emerson illustrates the importance of how an individual’s self-value corresponds to their own honest decisions that define them.
As an adolescent in high school, I am having a difficult time choosing between which career paths to pursue, specifically business or medicine. My parents encourage me to go toward the medical route due to its advances in technology and high demand while my interest is relative to mathematics and negotiation. Although my passion is the ultimate goal to make a considerable amount of money, I am in agreement with Emerson about how this decision is only in relevance to my own self-purpose. I must not take into account the perceptions of others, but to look into my own heart and connect with God in order to understand my destiny.
Furthermore, how unique would society be if every individual conformed to the one next to them? The fact that there are modern inspiration figures, such as Mark Zuckerberg, and historical ones, including Thomas Edison, demonstrate how indifference toward the world’s expectations of them benefits the world itself in the long-run. These aforementioned individuals signify how to “march to the beat of a different drummer.” Without Edison, we wouldn’t have had the application of electricity into a light bulb and without Zuckerberg, none of us would be able to waste incredible amounts of time on our phones for communication conveniences to fulfill our shallow happiness.
Ultimately, one must pursue their aspirations in order for create meaning within their lives. The man who makes a difference within themselves and in society is an unreasonable one.