He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much.

Bessie A. Stanley

Quotation #9400

About This Quote


Extended Quotation:

He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much; Who has enjoyed the trust of pure women, the respect of intelligent men and the love of little children; Who has filled his niche and accomplished his task; Who has never lacked appreciation of Earth's beauty or failed to express it; Who has left the world better than he found it, Whether an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul; Who has always looked for the best in others and given them the best he had; Whose life was an inspiration; Whose memory a benediction.


Poem, “What Constitutes Success?” Attributed in Emporia Gazette of Emporia, Kansas (December 11, 1905). Attributed in Heart Throbs Volume Two, 1911, 1-2.


To laugh often and love much; to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children; to earn the approbation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty. To find the best in others; to give one’s self; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exaltation; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived — this is to have succeeded.

Additional Information:

This poem was written by Elisabeth-Anne "Bessie" Anderson Stanley as part of a 1904 competition held by Brown Book Magazine to define "success" in 100 or fewer words. Stanley was the first-place winner and received $250 for her poem. In 1951, a syndicated columnist by the name of Albert Edward Wiggam attributed a very similar version of this poem to Ralph Waldo Emerson. However, no source was given. Ann Landers, a popular advice columnist, also misattributed this poem; once to Ralph Waldo Emerson, and again to Harry Emerson Fosdick. Finally, in 1984, Landers' attributed the poem to Bessie Anderson Stanley, but mistakenly used Wiggam's version of the words.