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
Today’s quote comes to us from my dear friend and neon artist Ben Livingston. The story is Ben saw this quote hanging on the wall behind a judge in a small Texas county courthouse. Just why Ben was sitting in front of a judge doesn’t exactly matter. What matters is when it came time for Ben to have his day in court, so to speak, he was distracted by the quote and asked the judge about it. The judge got so wrapped up in telling Ben about the quote and why all those things were important that he asked his aide to ‘go make a few copies for the boy.’ Then he totally let him off the hook for whatever crime (read: traffic violation) he had committed.
I personally love this quote because it puts success in perspective. We often think that success is measured by money and fame. Those things are simply interesting by-products. Real success, success with content, is determined by the quote above.