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Yesterday, as I took a break from work to gaze out the window the line of Rudyard Kipling‘s poem, If ran through my mind: “If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs..” Lately, my thoughts often turn to words of the past. Unlike so much of our grab and go culture, the words of yesteryear continue to resonate with relevancy and timeless wisdom. If was written in 1865 but seems so appropriate for these times.
If you can keep your head...when stocks are falling and experts are predicting disaster
when all about you are losing theirs…as panic and fear displace reason and focused intent
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you…standing steadfast in your beliefs and uncompromising on your values…But make allowance for their doubting too…because listening to others is a virtue of great leadership. No man knows it all and the input of others provides perspective, a gut check to ensure the path you have chosen is the right decision.
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,…you can achieve your dreams and have a life of meaning, purpose and balance. IF…
Wishing you all the best today!
IF – Rudyard Kipling
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 impostors 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 worn-out 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 breathe 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!
Alina Popescu says
Karen, this is one of my favorite poems ever! And you are right, it’s perfectly suited for the times we live in! Thanks for reminding me of it 🙂
Alina Popescus last blog post..World’s Top PR Blogs, According to AdAge
Karen Swim says
Hi Everyone! Please forgive my tardiness in responding! I left early the day this was posted to spend time with my dad in the hospital. It was more exhausting than I thought and today was brutal! I really do value your comments!
@Steph, so glad to share Rudy with you today! The season, the mood of the world really seem to be a great match for classic literature and poetry, don’t you think?
@Renae, I can see why it’s a favorite and I am so glad I could dust it off for you!
@Andrew, isn’t that the truth! It is even more interesting to read them with the historical perspective in mind. So often their challenges were similar and their words hold even greater meaning when we put them in the context in which they were written.
@Ulla, yes as I read his bio again I saw it differntly (funny how age has that impact!). My german is pretty rusty but it wold be interesting to read in another language. Thanks Ulla!
Ulla Hennig says
I am also a Kipling fan – but of course read most of him in German translation. He has often been called a “British imperialist”, but I think that’s so much wisdom in his words. The poem is just wonderful – thanks Karen for sharing it!
Ulla Hennigs last blog post..Derelict House in Jüterbog
There is a reason why words like these have stood the test of time – because they are pure common sense.
Andrews last blog post..Socially Responsible Investing part 11: How to become an ethical investor
One of my favorite poems. Thank you for bringing it back to mind.
Renaes last blog post..Turn the Other Cheek
Karen: words of wisdom I especially needed to hear! Thanks for your excellent post and for including the poem!
stephs last blog post..What I Know For Sure
Karen Swim says
Hi Wendi! You have the coolest stuff in your office! i can see you in there, your calm creative space. One day you’ll have to show us pics. 🙂
Hey Brad! It is so cool to pull out things written decades ago and have them speak to present times. I also took some time to revisit more of Kipling’s works, and I saw old familiar verses through new eyes.
Hi Lillie! I am so glad to be able to share Rudy with you today. 🙂 Nothing like a visit from an old friend. 🙂
Karen Swims last blog post..Keeping Your Head In a Mad, Mad World
Lillie Ammann says
It’s been a long time since I’ve read If, and it is so appropriate for these times. Thanks.
Lillie Ammanns last blog post..Blog Tour Stop at The Bluestocking Guide
Brad Shorr says
Karen, My sentiments exactly! My dad is a huge Kipling fan, and it brings back fond memories re-reading that poem. Kipling has some very current ideas, which is amazing.
Brad Shorrs last blog post..Defeat Sales Anxiety by Asking These Great Questions
Wendi Kelly-Life's Little Inspirations says
I have this poem in my office. It was one of the very first blogs I ever wrote about. I love it. Thanks for highlighting it. It really does fit in well with the events of today’s madness doesn’t it!
Wendi Kelly-Life’s Little Inspirationss last blog post..Teeter-Totter Tribulations
Karen Swim says
Hi Jan! Yes,it is strange how that works. The line ran through my head and when I dug it out to read I was floored by how appropriate it is to these times. I guess it proves that life is truly a cycle, the human experience really does not change. All the best back! Karen
Janice Cartier says
Well, I have to thank you right back for this. I hadn’t read this Kipling poem in some time… but it is just perfect and timed beautifully. Funny how it works that way. All best, Jan