I re-read this excerpt from one of my recent blog posts, “How Successful People Think: Part Two,” and I think it is worth repeating. Everyday how we live our lives is a reflection of who we are, were, and who we will become. It’s not until the end of that life that most people assess what the experience of life has meant to them at a time when it’s too late to change anything. Sadly, for many people, it’s not until someone else is writing your eulogy that we even think about what life has meant to us and those around us. Hopefully, at your own funeral, you can define success in life somewhere along these terms:
In 1904, Bessie Anderson Stanley wrote the following definition of success in Brown Book magazine:
He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often and loved much; who has enjoyed the trust of pure women, the respect of intelligent men and the love of little children, who has filled his niche and accomplished his task; who has left the world better than he found it, whether by an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul; who has never lacked appreciation of earth’s beauty or failed to express it, who has always looked for the best in others and given them the best he had, whose life was an inspiration, whose memory a benediction.
I think about the friends and family I have lost and for each of these areas, whether it be the “love of little children” or “a perfect poem” it reminds me of stories of that individuals kindness, their creations, or their passions. If anything, Bessie Stanley’s definition of success is a great outline for how we should live our lives for meaning.