Thoreau and Walden

I think its strange that I just found out one of my favorite quotes is actually a little longer and even more powerful than I thought before. I have always thought it to be simply “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.” This quote from Thoreau has been my mantra for many years now, something I can read and be reassured, inspired, motivated, calmed, etc. I now realize it is even more amazing than originally thought.

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.” Misquoted from Thoreau’s Walden: “I learned this, at least, by my experiment; that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. . . . In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness.”

I am always over thinking, over analyzing, complicating things with unnecessary worry. It is wasted energy and the worst thing is that I know I do it but I still can’t stop doing it. With age and experience I have learned that you can’t say yes to everything and everyone because you end up losing out on things for yourself. In moving far away from friends and family I have learned the same. You can’t beg people to care about you or want people to want to keep in touch. But as soon as I let go of some of those things and focus on the people and things that do matter and that I do have control over everything else becomes simpler.

I have always loved this quote, its wisdom ceases to amaze me.



  1. Simplifying my life has been the hardest part I have tried to do. I’m working at it, and I like to quote something else he said: “Simplify, simplify, simplify.”

    At least, I think he put it that way.

    If you have his book handly, you might share with us what he said about it.


    michael j

    • Michael,

      I agree with you. When everything surrounding us offers complicated stimulus it is hard to find silence. I don’t have the book handy unfortunately. I strive to simplify as well and it is a challenge! I find myself with limitless options for complicating and busying myself but it is hardest for me to just stop and slow things down and truly pay attention to the details of living.

      A friend wrote a book “Say Yes to NO” which helped me realize that sometimes in order to simplify you have to say no to some things in order to allow yourself a yes to something for you. I find myself complicating my schedule with obligations that deny me things I need for myself and time is bargained away until I have no time for things I need. The no’s have helped me simplify 🙂

      Thank you for your words.


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