An Excerpt from Emerson’s Spiritual Laws, or Literature’s Response to “Eye of the Tiger”

This excerpt from Spiritual Laws, for the author, is mostly the literary equivalent of Survivor’s 1982 smash hit “Eye of the Tiger” — for many reasons, probably, but mostly for its capacity to give the reader (listener) inordinate confidence in his own abilities.

Each man has his own vocation. The talent is the call. There is one direction in which all space is open to him. He has faculties silently inviting him thither to endless exertion. He is like a ship in a river; he runs against obstructions on every side but one; on that side all obstruction is taken away, and he sweeps serenely over a deepening channel into an infinite sea… He inclines to do something which is easy to him, and good when it is done, but which no other man can do. He has no rival. For the more truly he consults his own powers, the more difference will his work exhibit from the work of any other. His ambition is exactly proportioned to his powers. The height of the pinnacle is determined by the breadth of the base. Every man has this call of the power to do somewhat unique, and no man has any other call…

By doing his work, he makes the need felt which he can supply, and creates the taste by which he is enjoyed. By doing his own work, he unfolds himself.

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