Rudyard Kipping’s Poem “If”


“If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you; If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too; If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies, or, being hated, don’t give way to hating, and yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise; If you can dream – and not make dreams your master; If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim; If you can meet with triumph and disaster And treat those two imposters just the same; If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, or watch the things you gave your life to broken, and stoop and build ’em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss, And lose, and start again at your beginnings And never breath a word about your loss; If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew To serve your turn long after they are gone, And so hold on when there is nothing in you Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”; If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch; If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you; If all men count with you, but none too much; If you can fill the unforgiving minute With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run – Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it, And – which is more – you’ll be a Man my son!”

I reread Rudyard Kipping’s poem “If” again recently which I very much enjoyed doing! I find both the structure and wording of this poem to be very calming and inspirational at the same time. The theme of humility is one I must remind myself is central in regards to my attempts to touch upon the “still points” of my life. This is especially true when I think of all the time and energy I have given to the ego side of my being in the past.

I especially enjoyed the section of the poem that states, “If you can meet with triumph and disaster And treat those two imposters just the same”. The concept of both triumphs and disasters as being imposters is so true. Our egos are so wrapped up in what we consider to be triumphs and disasters in our life’s we end up losing sight of the bigger picture. Our egos have such a major influencing on who we are and on our view of the world. Transcending above both our triumphs and disasters in life in my view is so important. To transcend our triumphs and disasters, and their importance in our life’s is not to belittle those situation, but rather to put them into a broader concept of what they mean and what we can learn from them. It is essential that we not be blinded by either one of these strong ego related emotions.

In closing, if I can wish something upon you today let it be that, “you can fill the unforgiving minute” of your day “with sixty seconds’ worth of distance run”. Enjoy!

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