Emerson on your Compensation from the Universe

6am on the nuts
Saint Paul, Minn

*|FNAME|*, I just received my copy of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Essays.

"Compensation" and other Essays by Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Compensation” and other Essays by Ralph Waldo Emerson. Photo copyright ⓒ 2019 Jeffrey G Thomas 

This collection of Emerson’s writings includes the famous Compensation, which discusses how people who give tend to do better than those who take:

“He is great who confers the most benefits. He is base —and that is the one base thing in the universe— to receive favors and render none… But the benefit we receive must be rendered again, line for line, deed for deed, cent for cent, to somebody. Beware of too much good staying in your hand. It will fast corrupt and worm worms. Pay it away quickly in some sort.”

The concept that we better succeed when we pay forward our success allows us to build momentum, and helps others to succeed as well.

Feared negotiator Jim Camp was a fan of Emerson, and a fan of paying it forward.

Camp suggested (with his own terms) that

Emerson's Essays, including the famous "Compensation"
Title page of my copy of Emerson’s Essays, a book including the famous “Compensation.” Photo copyright ⓒ 2019 Jeffrey G Thomas

paying forward your success allowed you to build your inner citadel, the stoic idea of self-worth that you must maintain inside of you, in the face of criticism and despair.

People will criticize you, people will question you. Let your behaviors speak for themselves.

When our worth comes from external validation, we live at the whims and approval of others. Only by taking our sense of value from ourselves and our actions can we truly be confident in our lives.

I’ll write more about Emerson. In the mean time, you can find a collection of his essays here,


Keep your focus,


PS. Teaching my kids about internal and external validation hasn’t been easy. Come on 3 year old, you can figure this out! In reality, most people are self-centered until they’re older teenagers. That’s how their brain works. And, sometimes… it doesn’t grow beyond that phase.