40 Everyday Successes To Celebrate

“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to leave the world a better place; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

My father is my hero, and one of the most successful men in the world.

When I was a kid he worked two full-time blue-collar jobs to support me and my siblings. He didn’t have a college degree—he attended briefly on a golf scholarship and then got hurt—but he compensated with hard work.

Though many people wouldn’t be happy with that type of life, I never once heard him complain. Being someone who prefers a simple routine over ambition, he stayed in the printing industry until he got laid off last year.

Though he’s inspired me in a million ways, he’s done two things exceedingly well: enjoy his life, and treat everyone with kindness and respect.

I thought about this the other day while flipping through Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People list. As I read about leaders and luminaries who’ve made huge impact on the world, I started to think about the important little things we all do on a daily basis.

You may not have won the Nobel Peace Prize, but that doesn’t mean you’re not influential in making the world a peaceful place. You may not have created a tool that connects millions of people the world over, but you’re still the glue that holds people together in more ways than you even realize.

I haven’t always given myself credit for all the good I do. If you can relate, you may enjoy this reminder of all the ways you make the world a better place.

Love and Kindness

1. Loving people even in their weakest moments and giving them strength. As Marilyn Monroe said, “If you can’t take me at my worst, you don’t deserve me at my best.”

2. Forgiving someone instead of holding a grudge which gives them peace of mind. That peace of mind ripples back into the world.

3. Listening just to help someone find their own way when it would be easier to dominate the conversation.

4. Helping someone who can’t offer you anything in return.

5. Noticing someone’s positive efforts that often go unappreciated. Everyone wants to believe they make a difference. Sometimes a little gratitude inspires them to make an even bigger impact.

6. Showing a child through actions how to be a good person. Children learn from what we do more than what we say.

7. Giving someone a book that might change their life. As Mark Twain said, “The man who does not read great books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them.”

8. Forgiving yourself and letting go of the past. You can only love yourself if you cut yourself some slack—and you can only love other people if you love yourself.

9. Taking care of your family’s needs, both physical and emotional. It’s not easy to do both simultaneously and well.

10. Connecting two people whose lives will improve for knowing each other.

Strength and Commitment

11. Making the effort to know yourself. Focused introspection—taking an honest assessment of who you are and what makes you happy—is the first step toward living a beautiful life.

12. Acknowledging a mistake and growing through the process

13. Working through it when you’re having a hard day. A lot of people shut down when times get difficult. Whenever you keep going you have every reason to feel proud.

14. Finding joy in your work regardless of your success. In an achievement-oriented society, focusing on the journey and not the outcome is an act of greatness.

15. Putting your heart into your blog, regardless of your readership. Even if only one person learns from your experiences, you’ve made a powerful difference through your words.

16. Staying in the game even when you think you might lose. Sticktoitiveness is an attribute to celebrate. It helps you be the person you want to be regardless of what you accomplish.

17. Honoring a promise when you’re tempted not to keep it.

18. Actually being the person you claim to be, however that translates into action.

19. Comparing yourself to an older version of you instead of other people. There’s no better way to measure your growth and motivate yourself to keep going.

20. Having the strength to walk away from a person or situation that isn’t good for you.

Health and Hope

21. Meditating, practicing yoga, or taking a calming walk. Every time you melt your stresses and foster inner peace, you help make the world a more peaceful place.

22. Taking care of your body by exercising, whether it’s running after your dog or running a marathon. 190 million Americans are overweight and at risk for health complications. Taking care of yourself is a prerequisite to anything else you want to do in the world.

23. Helping someone else become healthier, by inviting them for a walk or making them a healthy meal.

24. Making one minor change for healthier eating, like going without butter. Little changes can make a big difference. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.

25. Trusting your inner voice instead of letting the world make decisions for you.

26. Creating a positive environment that nurtures everyone who enters it.

27. Understanding instead of arguing. Good for your mental well-being and other people’s, too.

28. Doing anything to take care of the earth—cleaning up a park or reducing your carbon footprint.

29. Enjoying yourself regardless of what you’ve gotten done. Enjoyment is success.

30. Being the change you want to see in the world instead of growing jaded.

Purpose and Possibilities

31. Believing in your own potential. It’s easy to get down on yourself, particularly when the economy isn’t in great shape. Any time you build yourself up you’ve set the stage to change the world.

32. Telling someone else you believe in their potential. You never know what act of greatness you might inspire, however big or small.

33. Taking one small step to fill your life with meaning based on what matters to you. People who live with passion and purpose inspire everyone around them.

34. Keeping an open mind, both to create new possibilities for yourself and to increase your chances of loving and helping people.

35. Doing something that scares you. The more willing you are to take risks, the greater your odds of feeling fulfilled in life. Fulfillment is success.

36. Supporting a cause that matters to you, whether that means making a small donation or doing the walk for breast cancer.

37. Mentoring someone who’d like to do what you do. When you help someone live their dreams you’re a meaningful part of their happiness.

38. Learning from someone else. Sometimes it’s powerful to be the apprentice and not the expert.

39. Creating. Music, poetry, jewelry, movies, websites, buildings—any time you crease something with heart and positive intentions, it's a gift to the world.

40. Opening your world to new people. No one is an island. Every time you open your world to someone else, you create the possibility of inspiring and being inspired.

As always, I haven’t created a thorough list. This is just the beginning. Reach out! What minor success have you celebrated or noticed today?

Photos by Rishi Menon and Shavar Ross

About Lori Deschene

Lori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha and Recreate Your Life Story, an online course that helps you let go of the past and live a life you love. Her latest bookTiny Buddha's Gratitude Journal, which includes 15 coloring pages, is now available for purchase. For daily wisdom, follow Tiny Buddha on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram..

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  • Thankyou. Very inspiring ^-^, all the bloggers I know seem so inspired this morning, it must be something in the water, but I'm loving it ^-^

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  • Amazing! All good tips. I'm so glad I found this site.

  • Thanks again for your inspiration and wisdom.

    I've started blogging about life, in general. Even if one person is affected by what I read, I'll feel good, and I'm receiving encouragement already. I've set a goal for myself to blog every day this week.

    I have also been committed to exercising and eating better, well trying, I love sweets! I have even made a food/exercise journal.

  • I'm so glad I found you through a retweet from Belinda at The Halfway Point. This post is wonderful and I'm going to print it and post it up for inspiration on how to be a better blogger, mother and human being. Thank you for this. I'm subscribing!

  • EvaEvolving

    This is a wonderful list – I'm adding to my Delicious right now! I especially like that you included a section on health. Exercising and eating well can go a long way. And my favorite? #39 – Create. Making something tangible with my hands is so gratifying. It doesn't have to be beautiful or perfect. Just the act of doing it is meaningful.

  • I like your post. I am trying to keep in mind these things whatever I do and I hope more people will try to be better persons.

    But there is one thing that I could argue about. It is “39. Creating. Music, poetry, jewelry, movies, websites, buildings—anything you create is a gift to the world.” I think that you should change that point because people create porn sites with little children and weapons of mass destruction. I just don't find the word “anything” appropriate.

  • Christopher

    Thank you for your list.It really helps me to remember that only good can come out of doing good things for others and for myself.

  • Hi Keith,

    Congratulations on your new blog! I love the title, and I appreciate that you shared the link. Happy Monday =)


  • Hi Katie!

    Thanks for popping by. I'm glad you enjoyed this post–and I'm also a Belinda fan. I love her insights. She's such a strong person and a wonderful writer.

    Hope you're having a fantastic day =)


  • Yes I couldn't agree more! I think we feel most alive when we're creating on some level. I know I do. I'm glad you enjoyed this list. =)

  • Hi Stoimen,

    You make a valid point and I appreciate you pointing that out. I've edited this to more accurately reflect my intentions (create something positive that doesn't harm others).

    Have a great evening,

  • Deidra

    Great list, It's one to save and reflect on. It's a good reminder that we all can and do good things even when we don't take the time to acknowledge our actions.

  • Chanel

    This is a great list, you should be proud of yourself!

  • Thank you =)

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  • Glen

    Only 40? What about the other 84,000 ways to celebrate?

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  • Nel

    What a great list of the opportunites that present themselves everyday to do good for others and ourselves. Thank you, I needed to read this today.

  • You are most welcome!

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  • Karolina

    I’ve come across this site by mistake and I must tell that not only I read the whole article but also it gave me so much power to work on my everyday deeds. I’m enchanted by wisdom of all those words and I’ll definitely stay on your page for much longer 😉

  • I’m glad you enjoyed this post, Karolina. Welcome to Tiny Buddha! =)