To Have Succeeded

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 little 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

It can be a telling exercise to take some time to write down how you define success for yourself. There are probably a number of ways to arrive at the answer, but one simple way it to just sit down, unplug yourself from everything, and complete the sentence: “I will have succeeded in this lifetime if…”

After having answered that central question, next you must determine if the way you are handling your world aligns with this central mission. This is a matter of your heart, not the people, places and things around you. Again, take a few minutes to withdraw from the cares of the world and complete the sentence: “My heart would be at rest in relation to the accomplishment of my central purpose if only I…” But remember, this is an internal change, not an external one.

Then comes the assessment of your world and how it is arranged. Has your life become a “junk drawer” into which anything and everything has been stuffed over time? What would you say is the ratio of that which is helping you accomplish your central purpose to that which is detracting you from it? Answering the previous question typically catalyzes changes in the world around you (as above, below, as inside, so without), but you will likely need to take specific steps at this point in the process to refine your approach. Answer these questions: “What do I need to finally let go of? and “What do I now need to let go more fully to?” and you will sharpen your focus.

Finally, there is the need for a new resolve, a focused and fortified commitment to bold and decisive action in relation to the fine-tuned approach. All the thinking, talking, answering, and hoping in the world won’t get you there. Action. There must be action.

4 thoughts on “To Have Succeeded

  1. Carol

    Thank you for these great questions to help us determine if we’re on course to fulfill our central purpose. I don’t think most people ever give this much thought or even realize they have a purpose for being here on earth. That one word at the end of your meditation, ACTION, really caught my attention. Putting off, procrastinating, letting fear stop you does just that. It stops the process and you never know fulfillment or that you’ve done anything of significance with your time on earth. It’s in the daily exchanges that Emerson writes of where we have an opportunity to provide upliftment. There are specific steps to be taken and these are pointed questions to see where we’re at.


    1. Steve

      Yes it is good to take the time to answer the questions. The wise sequence of answering them does bring clarity and greater resolve for aligned action and successful living. Our heart orientation is a key that needs to be true if in fact this becomes a reality in our living. Honesty and vulnerability as we have been considering to allow the depth of changes needed must be part of the process to let go of and to let go to.


  2. Ricardo B.

    A telling exercise indeed! If one looks at the natural processes of successful evolution, one surely finds these key elements contained therein. When it comes to success on the scale of human consciousness, there are impediments to the natural order built upon erred deviations ingrained over time and so it is that a good measure of deliberate focus is required, especially as the stakes get higher.

    Most of us have had experiences with a successful outcome or two, perhaps more to do with the fact of our own intuition regarding this natural flow, inherently ‘knowing’ it’s just the right thing and the right way of going about it. But, I am of the opinion that for there to be true success on a much larger scale than just singular outcomes, these principles must be tightly woven throughout the whole fabric of our lives and this kind of organized success is a much different matter requiring a whole new range of awareness.

    To have truly succeeded…….well, time is the teller of the tale.


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