Redefining Success

When you think of the word “success,”  what words or images come to your mind?

I envisioned a successful person as one who has climbed the corporate ladder and landed an executive position; or a writer who has her work published in a well-known literary journal.

Is this the kind of success I want for myself?  This is what the world wants me to believe, and by accepting this stance, I’m a complete failure.


Because I had recently dropped out of the working world to be a full-time parent (as well as for health reasons).  And, because I’ve only been able to have my writings published in anything by literary journals.

So, do these all mean that I am a total reject as a person and as a writer?

No, I don’t believe so.  And I refuse to believe that!

I’m currently participating in a writing retreat called Retreat for the Writer’s Soul

Retreat for the Writer's Soul

Yesterday we worked on redefining the word success by writing a poem after Ralph Emerson’s version of success.  Here’s Emerson’s:

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.

Here was my response and poem:

Wow…this task was an eye-opening experience for me. I adopted some of Emerson’s views of success as they spoke true for me.

To laugh often and much

To discover new kindred spirits and establish deep connection with fellow peers

To continuously adapt to changes no matter how difficult and accept my disabilities as strengths rather than weaknesses

To appreciate the simplicity of life; to find the best in others;

To accept people for who they are no matter how different they may be or what kind of a past they had

To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived (love this one!)

This is to have succeeded
In the past, I’ve always considered being successful as to having a career where you’ve been promoted to high positions, or earned higher income each year. Or, in the writing world, having published in high profiled magazines/ezines/journals (namely the literary kinds). When I recently left the work force to stay home full time as a mom because I could no longer hold a full time job due to my failing eyesight, I felt like a complete failure. But, by doing this task, this feeling has changed. Thank you! I don’t feel quite so terrible now! 🙂

Now, it is your turn!


2 thoughts on “Redefining Success

  1. Thank you for liking “A Tale of Two Trees” and for following my blog. I enjoyed reading this thoughtful post. 🙂 I am glad that you are redefining success for yourself and have found some happiness as a writer and a full-time mom. I am sorry to hear about your failing eyesight, but it sounds like you are adapting and trying to work around the problems caused by it. Good for you! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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