What do you see as success?

Happiness strategies
25 Nov 2022

What is Success?

To laugh often and much;

To win the respect of intelligent people

And the affection of children; 

To earn the appreciation of honest critics 

And endure the betrayal of false friends;

To appreciate the beauty; 

To find the best in others;

To give of oneself;

To leave the world a bit better, 

whether by a healthy child,

a garden patch

or a redeemed social condition; 

To have played and laughed with enthusiasm

And sung with exultation;

To know even one life has breathed easier

because you have lived;

This is to have succeeded.

Ralph Waldo Emerson


I recently went to a celebration of life for a dear friend. His life showed the truth in this poem.

Often at funerals people concentrate on education, achievements, and awards. wealth and knowing famous people.

My friend had none of these but a large hall full of sad people showed us his life was full of love and he had indeed made many lives breathe easier.

He connected with everyone he met and did leave the world a bit better. He laughed often with enthusiasm, sung with exultation and we all miss his smile.

I had read this poem before, years ago, but in the context of remembering a life lived to the fullest with so much joy and laughter, I wonder if the word success may be seen in a different light.

The word success has connotations of wealth, power and privilege so may we need another word that helps to discover a life that was connected to others.

Do you know ‘one life has breathed easier because you (or another) have lived.’?

What do these words mean to you? 

What do the words successful life mean to you?

Do you need to change the understanding of what the word successful life means?

Do you need a different word other than successful when describing someone life?


A Moodscope member

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