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Thoughts on Success–2500 Years Apart

I have always been partial to this quote attributed to Emerson. It well positions human endeavor and speaks of qualities that are attainable by all.

Only recently I came across a website declaring that Emerson DID NOT write this piece and that it is wrong to give him credit for it. I can’t prove it one way or another, but that really isn’t the point, is it? It’s still worth reading, following, and teaching.

“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

The prophet Micah shared some similar thoughts over 2500 years before Emerson. Micah, a poor farmer, gave us a rich philosophy that is awesome in its simplicity. Its wisdom goes deep. It’s my favorite quote from the Old Testament:

 “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?”  Micah 6:8

If we can’t do these three simple things, all the self-help books in the Library of Congress won’t be much good to us.

James Sutton, Psychologist


February 20, 2007 - Posted by | Counselors, Educators, family, Inspirational, Parents, Self-esteem


  1. Amen! Here’s to simplicity!


    Comment by Desiree | February 20, 2007 | Reply

  2. Doc,
    I also love this quote. If you live your life by this basic tennant how can you go wrong?
    Thanks for sharing. Funny, I saw someone else with the same quote on another blog this morning. I must have needed to see that today, thank-you!


    Comment by tobeme | February 20, 2007 | Reply

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