Shakespeare's Famous Words

"This above all - to thine own self be true..."

What does this quote mean?

The ultimate truth about living successfully is revealed in Shakespeare's Hamlet. Laertes waits to embark on his journey back to France while having a last important conversation with his sister. As they finish, their father Polonius comes in to bid him farewell and decides to give him some valuable pieces of advice. Among some smart tips about watching his actions, being careful who he hangs around with, and always looking classy, he authoritatively tells him that "this above all - to thine own self be true" (Act 1, Scene 3, Line 78). Polonius feels a strong ambition to make sure his son knows the value of staying strong throughout harsh circumstances since he won't be there to guide him. This quote means that even though everything around a person can constantly change for the worst, they need to stay true to themselves and be constantly reminded of where they came from. The world should not influence someone, that someone should instead influence the world positively.