“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 beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”
The quote is attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson. It is a singular definition of success. Berger writes: “Bezos also knows a thing or two about doing what you love while still making a positive impact on the world, which are also common threads throughout the poem.” Bezos said: “You don’t choose your passions, your passions choose you…. All of us are gifted with certain passions, and the people who are lucky are the ones who get to follow those things.” In a 2016 interview he said also: “[I]f I’m 80 years old, looking back on my life and the one thing I have done is make it so that there is this gigantic entrepreneurial explosion in space for the next generation, I will be a happy, happy man.”
Emerson’s words capture the principles and values of great leaders in defining what success in their life is. It goes beyond the material and embraces a greater fullness of having lived, loved and served for and with others. May we, too, pin these words to a place of prominence for ourselves and others to see. May its words serve as a gentle reminder of the things we should be and do in our life if we are to say at the end of days: “This is to have succeeded.”
Have a beautiful day, a Happy Memorial Day and a magnificent week!!!