The true measure of a successful life


By Carl Hendrickson, For the Call

May – the month of graduations. I graduated in 1955, 1962, 1965 and 1970.

First was graduation from high school in Palmer, Alaska. After serving three years in the U.S. Army, I attended college, graduating from Arizona State College in 1962. 

I received a scholarship to Saint Louis University Law School, graduating in 1965. In 1970, I received a graduate degree in business.

I don’t recall who spoke at these various graduation ceremonies, but they were individuals who had achieved wealth or power or fame. The message I took away from each graduation ceremony was that one was not a success unless one achieved wealth, power or fame. 

In my 85 years I have never been asked to address graduating seniors. Ergo, I am a failure!

Of course not. I do not believe one has to acquire money or power or fame to have had a successful life. I believe true success can be summed up in one word. And, if you have sat through a long, tedious presentation at a graduation ceremony, you would relish a speaker who could reduce his or her presentation to one or a few words.

True success is love, finding someone to love and being loved in return, finding life’s work that gives you satisfaction and which you love. 

When in law school I found my soulmate, to whom I have been married for more than half a century. From this love has come three children, all of whom I love and are loved in turn. The children have given us six grandchildren, whom I love and who love my wife and me. 

I practiced corporate law for almost 30 years, a profession that gave me much satisfaction and which I loved.

I left the practice of law when elected to the Missouri House of Representatives. For four terms I represented the people of Missouri in Jefferson City, a vocation that gave me much satisfaction.

Currently, I write a monthly column for the St. Louis Call. I love doing this and receive many favorable comments from readers about my articles.

I agree with Warren Buffett, who said, “I measure success by how many people love me.” So, seniors of 2022, I wish that you find love, are in return loved by others and find a work in life that provides fulfillment and joy. That is true success.