Stanza-wise Summary of That’s Success by Berton Braley: 2022

“That’s Success”, a poem by Berton Braley, is an immensely inspiring poem, that sums up what real success is in a nutshell so profoundly, that one cannot help but re-read it many times to gauge the magnanimity of the message within. The poem is an important note to the self, where elements of success, small but of greater importance, mostly forgotten, are itinerated.  It comes across as a guide to tread on a path that would help build up one s self-esteem, leaving him satisfied on the last day of his life, knowing he had a successful life. To this date, the poem remains relatable, for its universal quality, having successfully captured the essence of human life, elucidating the tugs one inevitably feels towards different elements throughout life and inspite of it all how the definition of true success remains the same.

Stanza-wise Summary of That’s Success:

1st Stanza:
It’s doing your job the best you can,
And being just to your fellow man;
It’s making money – but holding friends,
And being true to your aims and ends.
The poet talks about what success means in the entire poem. The first stanza starts with simple words of great meaning. He says success is doing one s job to the best of their capability; pushing their boundaries and going beyond their own limit even, to give it all they have. Along with that one must do justice to their fellow men, be kind to them and remain true to their own sense of moral righteousness in the course of doing their own jobs. The poet goes on to say that, success is definitely making money, but at the same time in the haste of it one should not overlook two very important aspects: holding on to and valuing friends, who make life worth living and success sweeter as they are the ones with whom it can be celebrated. Also, the last line is profound, where we are reminded that actual success is being able to remain sincere and focused on one’s aims till the end, till it is achieved, overcoming temptations of abandoning it for the sake of earning money in other ways.
2nd Stanza:
It’s figuring how and learning why,
And looking forward and thinking high;
And dreaming a little and doing much,
It’s keeping always in closest touch.
The mind is filled with numerous questions of what is a success, how is it achieved and why we call success “success”? These questions can’t be answered for anyone, for it’s the own self only who can get answers from the core. One has to be “looking forward” to walking the path decided upon, “thinking high” with set goals to reach. “Dreaming” is the first step to knowing what one wants in life, but along with that one has to to do “much” to transform that dream into reality. Thus the dreams have to be kept in “closest touch”, close to one’s soul and work towards giving it wings of realism to soar high above the aspiration.
3rd Stanza:
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 labour a brave romance.
One has to carefully choose the “finest in word and deed”, in other words select the best ingredients and be absolutely thorough with their preparation for success, this might take time but is of utmost importance. At the same time, while paying attention to the details one has to keep track of the speed as well, lest they fall behind. Thus a perfect balance has to be struck between doing things perfectly at a fair pace. During the entire process one has to be aware of the daring relationship they enter into with labour, for efforts put in reaps results always. But at the same time “success” is more of venturing into the field of chance, wearing armors of “labour”.
4th Stanza:
It’s going onward despite defeat,
And fighting staunchly, but keeping sweet;
It’s being clean and it’s playing fair,
It’s laughing lightly at Dame Despair.
Success is walking on despite having faced defeat, its getting back up despite having been knocked down. One needs to battle determinedly with a sword made of sugar, keeping a sweet demeanor and at the same time fighting incessantly. An essential element of it is to remain fair and just while playing the game of success, not taking refuge to unfair means to reach the goal for that takes away all the credibility. Another important thing to remember is to adopt an amiable attitude to be able to laugh at despair when it annexes the mind and the heart, knowing that phase will pass.
5th Stanza:
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.
The poet urges all to drink the nectar of “life” and “love” while they live, look “up at the stars”, aspire to reach them even. Success is achieved when one takes utmost pleasure from living every moment to the fullest, keeping in mind their ambitions. Its essence lies in retaining the “will to win”, struggling “on” and overcoming “loss” with a jovial attitude and smiling face, accepting it as a part of life’s journey and moving ahead.
6th Stanza:
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!
At the last stanza, the poet reaches the zenith of the concept of success, encompassing the entire idea within four lines of immense depth. He says, sharing joy and sorrow, along with work, and contributing towards the betterment of the earth, endeavor to serve by defeating stress and strain and in the process do one s best – is success.

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