I have been sitting as a member of a weekly men’s circle for nearly five years. And in that time, I have witnessed many men weep, rage, express despair, and laugh together a whole lot! Recently, a fellow circle ‘brother’ shared his deep-felt feelings about success and failure as a person, man, father, and partner. I, too, have admittedly found myself often at dark moments wondering similar sentiments.
What does ‘success’ actually mean? Who gets to define it? Why do I chase it so readily? What if I stopped chasing? What if I redefined success for myself? What would that look like?
Serendipitously (or perhaps surreptitiously), I recently wrapped up Dan Siegel’s Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain. The renown child psychiatrist ends his all encompassing tome on adolescent brain development with a poem by American writer and essayist, Bessie Anderson Stanley, titled Success.
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 of 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 exultations; To know even one life breathed easier because you have lived-- This is to have succeeded.
Sounds like the most gratifying bucket list.