Over the weekend, I delivered a talk on success in different cultures. What constitutes a happy or successful life? We all use a different yardstick, of course. Maybe a combination of family time, career accomplishment and financial security? A Mercedes in the driveway? Designer clothes? An Oscar?
Let me tell you about one of the most successful people I’ve met. I’m not talking about a world leader, nor a famous athlete … in fact, no-one who would headline a Vegas show, walk the red carpet or stand on a dais.
She was a six year old girl, and I met her while I worked for a time at a rural leprosy hospital in India.
Every morning at first light, she would appear, holding the hand of her four year old brother. Her baby sister, perhaps six or eight months old, was tied to her back with cloth. Each was smaller than the last, like a set of Russian nesting dolls.
Every dawn she got them up, organized and saw to it that their faces were scrubbed clean. She then presented them for their first meal of the day. Often, it was their only meal of the day. Apparently one parent had died, the other had disappeared, no one seemed to know for sure. I often wonder how she is today.
What does a happy or successful life mean to you? From the smallest thing to the big picture, I’d love to hear your thoughts.