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

1 reply on “Emerson’s Notion of Success”

These were the words my dad lived by. He also kept this poem with him, and it was read at his funeral by my brother in law

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