I was reading Aniela Gregorek's chapter in the book 'Tribe of Mentors' by Tim Ferris* over the weekend and this quote really hit me...
"To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children… to leave the world a bit better… to know even one life has breathed easier because you lived. This is to have succeeded.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
I won't lie, an involuntary sob even escaped (yes, I am a cryer and no longer ashamed of it). Aniela Gregorek is a former political refugee who is now a weightlifting champion, business owner and author. So her story was inspiring enough, but I couldn't quite work out why this particular quote affected me so deeply.
I realised that it's because it was a definition of success that had nothing to do with society's version - which basically amounts to being rich and skinny as far as I can tell (plus a whole host of other expectations based on gender, race, religion, community and more.) So it made me want to define success on my own terms.