The Recipe

This famous short poem, by Berton Braley, could be considered a recipe for success in order to live a fulfilling life. Success has many elements depending on one's orientation, life experience, and career background. To some, success is simply measured by how much wealth has been obtained; to others, however, success in life can be much more elaborate than the accumulation of wealth, in and of itself, to also be measured beyond how much money one has in the bank. It is our hope that every person reading these poetic verses will find new horizons of success to consider, or to applaud what already has been described.


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The Recipe
by Berton Braley


It's doing your job the best you can
And being just to your fellow man;
It's making money - but holding friends
And true to your aims and ends;
It's figuring how, and learning why,
And looking forward and thinking high,
And dreaming little, and doing much.

It's keeping always in closest touch
With what is finest in word and deed;
It's being thorough, yet making speed;
It's daring blithely the field of chance
While making labor a brave romance,
It's going onward despite defeat

And fighting staunchly, but keeping sweet;
It's being clean and playing fair;
It's laughing lightly at Dame Despair;
It's looking up at the stars above
And drinking deeply of life and love.
It's struggling on with the will to win

But taking loss with a cheerful grin;
It's sharing sorrow and work and mirth
And making better this good old earth;
It's serving, striving through strain and stress;
It's doing your noblest - that's Success!

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Quotes from the poem, The Recipe:


"It's doing your job the best you can and being just to your fellow man"
Berton Braley
The above verse contains two essential elements of achievement. One of these elements clearly states that success in a job, or career, is completing the assigned task to the best of one's ability. This means that there is no better position or more lofty position or calling than any other. It means, for example, that a president of a company has the same duty to perform to his/her ability as does a janitor in the same company. Each person, in order to be successful, is measured not by the amount of their paycheck but, instead, is measured by how well and diligently the job tasks are completed each day of the week. The second element, reflects  the "moral" level expected of each human being. That means, for example, that fair play is paramount no matter if one deals with a work colleague or a street beggar. Each person is deserving of respect and dignity.

"And looking forward and thinking high, and dreaming little, and doing much."
Berton Braley
These verses outline several key themes. The first highlights the significance of leaving the past in the past; what happened yesterday, in fact, need not have any bearing on the future. The only thing the past may declare is what not to do but never specifies that the past be lived again in the present or the future. The second theme means that thoughts of what to do should not control what needs to be done. Or, in other words, while dreaming can play a role in looking to the future of what may or could be done must be supplanted by dedicated and planned action leading to a new result or a different way of doing something that propels greater insight or achievement.

"It's daring blithely the field of chance while making labor a brave romance, it's going onward despite defeat"
Berton Braley
How often have you heard that one defeat has derailed many a dream? Far too often I'm sure. Defeat embraced is a life not lived. Defeat can rob people of a fulfilled life rather than being seen as an opportunity to try again. The greatest of leaders in this world have suffered defeat before achieving; the greatest business people have suffered setbacks before moving onward to great success. For example, Walt Disney had been defeated but rose to create an empire. Abraham Lincoln experienced defeat after defeat but became, through perseverance, one of the greatest statesmen in history. Thomas Edison is often been noted as a man who showed hundreds of times how not to create the light bulb but championed onward to become one of our most notable inventors.

"But taking loss with a cheerful grin; it's sharing sorrow and work and mirth and making better this good old earth"
Berton Braley
Let not a loss or setback be mired in doom and gloom as bespeaks the first line of this stanza. Loss may be experienced, maybe a huge setback but it need not be broadcast within or to others as a meeting conveyed of all "nay sayers" who said you should give up your lofty ideals. It is not a time to surround yourself with others who have failed to achieve only to celebrate and commiserate in despair. It is, however, a time to re-muster, to review what happened, and to charge forth again with renewed vigor in celebration of another chance offered in life's cycles of hills and valleys. It is more about embracing life's upsets with a smile knowing that when you are knocked down getting up is but a single step forward. All in all, no matter the issue, the circumstances, the defeats, or the hills that are climbed, one's quest in this life resounds merrier when you have made the world a better place than when you started out in your life's journey.


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