WHAT CONSTITUTES SUCCESS
He has achieved success who has lived well,
laughed often and loved much;
who has gained 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.
—Bessie Stanley 1905 (more) .
Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexatious to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love,
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.
—Max Ehrmann 1927
THE GUY IN THE GLASS
When you get what you want in your struggle for pelf,
And the world makes you King for a day,
Then go to the mirror and look at yourself,
And see what that guy has to say.
For it isn’t your Father, or Mother, or Wife,
Who judgement upon you must pass.
The feller whose verdict counts most in your life
Is the guy staring back from the glass.
He’s the feller to please, never mind all the rest,
For he’s with you clear up to the end,
And you’ve passed your most dangerous, difficult test
If the guy in the glass is your friend.
You may be like Jack Horner and “chisel” a plum,
And think you’re a wonderful guy,
But the man in the glass says you’re only a bum
If you can’t look him straight in the eye.
You can fool the whole world down the pathway of years,
And get pats on the back as you pass,
But your final reward will be heartaches and tears
If you’ve cheated the guy in the glass.
—by Dale Wimbrow, (c) 1934
more about Dale Wimbrow
Life is a gift to be used every day,
Not to be smothered and hidden away;
It isn’t a thing to be stored in the chest
Where you gather your keepsakes and treasure your best;
It isn’t a joy to be sipped now and then
And promptly put back in a dark place again.
Life is a gift that the humblest may boast of
And one that the humblest may well make the most of.
Get out and live it each hour of the day,
Wear it and use it as much as you may;
Don’t keep it in niches and corners and grooves,
You’ll find that in service its beauty improves.
I woke up early today, excited over all I get to do before the clock strikes midnight.
I have responsibilities to fulfill today.
I am important. My job is to choose what kind of day I am going to have.
Today I can complain because the weather is rainy
or I can be thankful that the grass is getting watered for free.
Today I can feel sad that I don’t have more money or I can be glad
that my finances encourage me to plan my purchases wisely and guide me away from waste.
Today I can grumble about my health or I can rejoice that I am alive.
Today I can lament over all that my parents didn’t give me when I was growing up
or I can feel grateful that they allowed me to be born.
Today I can cry because roses have thorns or I can celebrate that thorns have roses.
Today I can mourn my lack of friends
or I can excitedly embark upon a quest to discover new relationships.
Today I can whine because I have to go to work
or I can shout for joy because I have a job to do.
Today I can complain because I have to go to school
or eagerly open my mind and fill it with rich new tidbits of knowledge.
Today I can murmur dejectedly because I have to do housework
or I can feel honored because the Lord has provided shelter for my mind, body, and soul.
Today stretches ahead of me, waiting to be shaped,
and I am the sculptor who gets to do the shaping.
Today, my attitude is the difference. I get to choose what kind of day I will have!
To laugh is to risk appearing a fool,
To weep is to risk appearing sentimental,
To reach out to another is to risk involvement,
To expose feelings is to risk exposing your true self,
To place your ideas and dreams before a crowd is to risk their loss,
To love is to risk not being loved in return,
To hope is to risk despair,
To try is to risk failure.
But risks must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.
The person who risks nothing does nothing, has nothing, is nothing.
He may avoid suffering and sorrow,
But he cannot learn, feel, change, grow or live.
Chained by his servitude he is a slave who has forfeited all freedom.
Only a person who risks is free.
—William Arthur Ward
I saw them tearing a building down,
a team of men in my hometown.
With a heave and a ho and a lusty yell,
they swung a beam and a sidewall fell.
And I said to the foreman,
“Are these men skilled?”
“Like the ones you’d use
if you had to build?”
He laughed and said, “Oh no, indeed
the most common labor is all I need.
For I can destroy in a day or two,
what takes the builder years to do.”
So I thought to myself
as I went on my way,
which one of these roles
am I willing to play?
Am I the one who is tearing down,
as I carelessly make my way around?
Or am I one, who builds with care,
to make the world better…because I was there?