"Success" by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Here's a beautiful poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson on the meaning of living a successful life.

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 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.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Comments for "Success" by Ralph Waldo Emerson

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not written by Emerson
by: Anonymous

One of the most enduring misattributions of a work to Emerson is that of an inspirational prose passage called "Success"


Not Emerson
by: Anonymous

The poem was written in 1904 by Bessie Stanley

by: Cheryl

I have a hand written and signed poem of SUCCESS Dated 1860 By Ralph Waldo Emerson.

This can't be the original
by: Anonymous

The grammar is wrong! It's a series of present tense verbs ending with "to have succeeded."

by: Anonymous

All i have to say is wow. Just wow. That's awesome.

Beautiful thesis on success
by: downtoearththinking.com

We are all far to consumed in materialism as sort of yardstick to measure success. This poem is spot and there are many more ways to succeed than simply our bank account and stuff !

by: cassidy

A real inspiration and reminder of the values in life

It is NOT the author but the message
by: Anonymous

Hello all, whether it is Emerson or whoever that wrote this (I have always thought it was Emerson), whether grammatically wrong or right, it is the MESSAGE that is important, not the author. What a wonderful message indeed.

Poignant piece
by: Meb

This particular piece of poetry or prose hung in my office for over 30 years I think it's one of the most poignant things I've ever read I. If every man woman and child found this piece and live but the world would just be a better place

by: namae

indeed but i also believe success is by sacrifice

by: Eric Stone

Received this Emerson writing on a greeting card related to a a transfer and promotion in my job over 30 years ago. Can recite it from memory and have shared it with many others.

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