After reading Emerson's Self-Reliance I noticed that basically everyother line is some philosophical saying. One of those bits that really stood out to me was the last sentence that read "To be great is to be misunderstood".

In a sense this is true. Some of history's most intelligent and creative people were very misunderstood, often seen as either crazy or just weird. An example of someone great was Vincent Van Gogh. He had artistic masterpieces that were never appreciated because he was an outcast, and to many, a failure. (He also cut off his ear and gave it to a woman as a sign of love...creepy. so he was considered weird). His works were very original and unique but they were seen as junk. He was a very misunderstood but so great.

Another way of interpreting that line is perhaps someone sees a different perspective of things, in a way no one has ever seen them before. Their view could be great, philosophical, amazing, insightful...whatever....but because their outlook is so unusual or original they are seen as misunderstood-kind of like a "what the heck are you talking about?" sort of thing.

So pretty much I just really like this line from Emerson's essay.- emi10 emi10 Jan 28, 2008

"To be great is to be misunderstood."

This quote reminds me a lot of my years with Carmel basketball. To me this quote is exactly right. In order to be great you have to be misunderstood.

When i came to Carmel and tried out for the basketball team i didn't think I'd make it because of all the good players. I was nervous but i ended up making it. When our first game came I was told I was going to be coming off the bench for the A team. I was so happy and proud. With 2 games into the season i started not getting subed in for the A team and instead got moved to the B team. I wasn't happy with myself and very disappointed. I respected the coaches decision a lot. By the middle of the season I was just confused. I would work my butt off in practice 16 hours a week and in the B team games I would help the team out majorly so I just didn't understand why I wasn't back up on the A team. By the end of the season I was upset at myself and a little angry with my coach because I knew I was better then what he thought I was. I knew I tried harder then many of the girls on the teams. When the season ended I made a promise to myself that I would prove to all the coaches what t ype of player I am. I would spend three hours playing or watching basketball each night. When the summer came around I told myself I wouldn't except anything less then four hours a day practicing and working on my game weather it be in my driveway, camps or games. I worked so hard at basketball because of my coach. I pushed myself each and everyday. This season in basketball I became a starter. When my new coach called my name to start my face lit up. When they announced my name on the starting lineups I was so proud. When I look back and think about it I know i owe a lot to my freshman coach because he misunderstood me which pushed me even harder. He made me never give up because of that doubt about me in his head. Him misunderstanding me made me great, well at least close to great.

Like Emi said, many great people who have become "great" have been or are being misunderstood. It's a matter of how they dealt/dealt with being misunderstood that has made them great. At the end of the day though, great doesn't have to be what the whole world thinks of you, but of what you think of yourself.
- bkr bkr Feb 12, 2008

I agree 100 percent with bkr. I think that quote relates to that situation greatly . I know what people mean when they say they are under estimated . But in the long run, showing the coach or teacher that you really can push yourself and acheive greatness is priceless. Being great at sports or school is alot of hard work. It doesn't just fall into you lap!It all just depends on how much you want it . If you have passion and desire for the game , you will spend four hours of your day practicing and pushing yourself to the limit. In the end, it will pay off. I think emerson really knows what he's talking about when he thought of this "bumper sticker" . Maybe he went through a similar situation. I also think that when people underestimate you its another chance to shine. Another chance to prove someone wrong! I really am inspired by this quote!

- ssa2 ssa2 Feb 14, 2008

This statement makes me think about another one. It's lonely at the top. It basically says that when you are good and win, then others evny you and our jealous. So think of a team who wins a lot such as a basketball team or football team. When they win more and more, other teams who loose start to evny them and dislike them. In the end the team who is the greatest has a lot of people who don't really like them in the end. This is what that quote says to me.
- asp3 asp3 Feb 15, 2008