Saturday, October 27, 2012

Worth Repeating

Every day is filled with a million little failures and sometimes it's so easy to focus on those.  This morning, after a long and loaded day yesterday at school, I was thinking about my students, about the little successes and the things I wish I'd done better, the ways I've helped them and the ways I let them down, and I remembered this quote from Emerson.  It's been cited and spread around many, many times, but with good reason.  I still think it is the best criteria for success in life that I have ever found.  So, in the face of those many daily failures, I think through it and apply this checklist.  When I leave this life, whenever that may be, I know I will have lived it right.
To laugh often and love 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.

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