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Henry David Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau Henry David Thoreau was born in Concord, Massachusetts on July 12, 1817. He is a Journalist, Poet, and Philosopher. He is well-known for his work Walden, which describe his observation with nature and living in a simple, natural surrounding.

The Life Of Henry David Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau attended Harvard University, where he studied German, Latin and, Greek.  Due to illness in his college years, he took some time off. And, later return and complete his studies in 1837. Instead of pursuing a career in medicine and law like many Harvard Graduates,  he joined with his brother to establish a school in 1838; however, it failed after a few years because of his sickness. Henry then later went to work in his father Pencil Factory for some time.

A few years later after college, Henry he became friends with Ralph Waldo Emerson. During this period, he received mentor and support from Emerson in many ways such as writing and exposure to Transcendentalism. Emerson even presents Henry with access to the land, that led to the creation of "Waldo," one of Henry's most excellent work.

He builds a home near the Walden Pond, where he lived a simple lifestyle, to avoid the misery that was surrounded him. Henry dedicated a significant amount of time to his literary and philosophical interests. This lifestyle inspired him to write his novel, " A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers (1849)", which was a boating trip he took with his brother in a year before. Henry eventually started writing about his Walden Pond experiment. Being away in the wilderness, many people were curious about the revolutionary lifestyle, and his passion and creativity led to the publication of his collection of essays in 1854.  This novel was a success and inspired many environmentalists, naturalists, and writers around the world.

Henry David Thoreau was also involved in politics. While living in the Waldo Pond, he was confronted with issues with the law, with his refusal to pay taxes. This involvement led him to write one of his most influential essays, "Civil Disobedience", this publication inspired many political leaders to protest in a non- violent approach towards the civil rights movement in America.

Valuable Life Lessons From Henry David Thoreau


Living in the woods, Henry revealed a minimalist lifestyle. In Walden, he wrote about the advantages of living a simple lifestyle. He abandoned the everyday luxuries to experience peace and quiet time to think and learn about himself.  Henry lived in the period of the Industrial Revolution, it was a creation of a new economic system, where people were attracted to material wealth and power. Citizens were committing themselves to work, only to pay for material desires. Henry did not want modern-day distractions. He tried to reduce his material needs, to focus more on his purpose and meaning, a path to true freedom.

This lifestyle led him to produce one of his most significant work, Walden. From this, we can learn that the less we have, the better. To achieve success like Henry, we can declutter our surroundings. Doing so will eliminate distractions, stimulate creativity, and improve our overall clarity and mental health. He said the following quote,

"Do not trouble yourself much to get new things, whether clothes or friends… Sell your clothes and keep your thoughts.”

― Henry David Thoreau

Henry was alone for a long period of time, and he embraces solitude. Isolation can be scary, but this enables us to be comfortable with ourselves, and it a path to true happiness and self-love. From this, we can learn to not be involved in meaningless relationships, or activities because of loneliness. We should embrace being alone, and take time to understand and know ourselves, to find out what we truly want from life and what really matters most to us. Henry spent most of his life alone and found fulfillment. He said the following quote,

I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude. Henry David Thoreau

Getting out of comfort zones

 Henry left home, where he had access to everything and went out in the woods. In order to grow, we must get out of our comfort zones. This could be learning a new skill, finding a new engaging activity that excites us, or getting into a challenge and discover the mysteries and outcome they have. Find encouraging words on getting out of comfort zones here.

Learning to appreciate the small things

Henry had an appreciation for nature, the fresh air, the greenery scene, and the quietness. Sometimes we need to the time to appreciate the small things we have in life and be grateful.

See also: 3 Simple Ways to Practice Gratitude 

Discover your true self and live the life you desire

 He understood what his talents, goals, and values were.. and he paid attention to it,  and become the person he wanted to be.

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Life the life you’ve imagined. Henry David Thoreau

In order to go confidently in the direction of our dreams, we must first understand what they truly are.