"Try not to become a man of success -- but a man of value." -- Albert Einstein. In a reflective mood [for a change] I'd like to mention a chum of mine, Lovely Lisa -- she's a talented young woman who's embarking on a successful career, merging business and creativity. When we were first chums a coupla years ago, Lovely Lisa was just getting over some serious anxiety and had so little self-confidence that she was frightened of speaking to people on the telephone. Today she's started giving a few business speeches in colleges. Life's funny, isn't it? I'm really pleased for my friend -- I know that she is going to be very successful in her business life: indeed her past anxiety is a good leveller, helping her to keep her feet on the ground whilst simultaneously reaching for the stars [yes, it can be done!]. I know that she will achieve much more in business and art than I ever could -- such are the limits of my talent, and indeed the limits of my aspirations and initiative. Of course I find some "success stories" to be two-edged, because while we want to cheer our friends on and share their success, in our darker times we can judge ourselves against them, with Mr Critical Voice putting on his judge's wig, banging his gavel and pronouncing "Guilty to the charges of Failure" to us. [British judges don't use gavels, but I'm using artistic licence.] But as I said to Lovely Lisa recently, life has its rises and falls -- it has to, that's the nature of it -- and if we can remember that when things aren't so good, that comforts us, and then gives us a degree of equanimity when we're rocketing into the air. My view, which has not changed over the years, is that Lovely Lisa is a success because of the person she is, and how she strives every day for happiness, kindness, and a happy balance. The business success is a nice bonus -- and will hopefully enhance her happiness. I've friends who are millionaires, and friends who live in sheltered accommodation, and who find it hard to cope on most days. I don't view any one as a "success in life" or any other a "failure". I think I'd be disappointed in myself if I did. I don't even believe people who have ended up taking their own lives are failures. I think they've been unable to withstand the pressures of life based on a unique set of circumstances that it's very difficult for people to comment on. Are there failures in life? Indeed there are many who consider themselves so, from statesmen to Oscar winners to Olympic medallists. It's all relative. But actually, yes: people who manipulate, are mean-spirited or who have a casual disregard for others... I'm happy to class them as failures. And that's as judgemental as I'm going to get. But otherwise, if you can just hold your head high -- or even just try to, with whatever energy you have -- after getting the shit kicked out of you by life, then you're no failure in my book. You are a success. I don't know how much that is worth -- but I know that it's worth something. Wishing you a peaceful day, mes amis. Thank you for reading.