This is one of my favorite quotes.
Tonight I was on the phone with a friend, a clearly intelligent person, and I was reminded of it.
It needs no explanation.
I’ll just say this to you: You’re going to be working hard and spending a lot of time pursuing success. It’s easy to let society, your family, or friends define for you what that means. Don’t operate on assumption. Reflect. Think hard about whether, in the end, your definition will be worth the investment.
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