Success – Bessie Stanley (often attr: RW Emerson)

The following poem often attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson, is more likely to be by a woman called Bessie Stanley as it appeared in a book by her, but on the page facing a quote by Emerson…see what you think. Success…what does it mean for you?

what is success, why do we need it, what does it mean to different people, to the materialist or the flower of a spiritual path.


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.