True Meaning of Success
"To laugh often and much; to win the respect of the intelligent people and the affection
of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the beauty in others; to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know that one life has breathed easier because you lived here. This is to have succeeded."
This is my absolute favorite poem and quotation from transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson. It captures so much of what makes life truly meaningful, and aids in the everyday journey to make yourself and the world around you a better place. I want to share and break down the poem a little bit to what it means, in the hopes that it resonates to anyone who could use some clarity on 'success' really means.
- To laugh often and much: Discover what makes you laugh wholeheartedly and visit there often. Laughter is a universally treasured component of life.
- To win the respect of the intelligent people and the affection of children: Recognize that respect from intelligent people must be earned. Don’t dwindle over not having respect from unreasonable people. Children are naïve of the bigger world around them, yet are wonderful at seeing who is genuine, and who isn’t. Their affection is priceless.
- To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends: Honest critics are there FOR YOU, not against you. Do honest, good work and you will appreciate their value and insight on your quest. Not all friends are actually the friends you may initially perceive them to be. Some will betray you. Endure the loss, move on, and continue forward.
- To appreciate beauty: Our world is an incredible setting. Go out, enjoy it, and don’t destroy it.
- To find the beauty in others: Help others bring out the best in them. Be a good person to them, and vice versa they will bring light to your finest qualities as well.
- To leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition: Pretty self-explanatory; leave the world a better place than you found it. Acknowledge that the little things in life have enormous contributions.
- To know that one life has breathed easier because you lived here: You have helped someone in some way, shape, or form. You have made their life a little brighter, and for that, you have their eternal gratitude and remembrance.
A timeless poem from someone who loved the natural world and wanted to leave his mark on it, and so he did.