Emerson’s Notion of Success


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My mother carried this quote from Emerson in her wallet for many years:

The definition of success—

To laugh much;

to win respect of intelligent persons

and the affections of children;

to earn the approbation of honest critics

and endure the betrayal of false friends;

to appreciate beauty;

to find the best in others;

to give one’s self;

to leave the world a little 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