BY William Ernest Henley
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.
I have always liked this poem because of the message it conveys – personal responsibility and not letting others get you down. This message is also conveyed in the wonderful book by Viktor Frankl, A Man’s Search for Meaning. Both the poem and the book emphasis the how we react to the world is entirely controlled by ourselves – not others. This is supremely important when dealing with troublesome coworkers, bosses, or even loved ones. You cannot let someone else rule your emotions. Another favorite idea of mine is that I write the story of my life – I refuse to write myself as a victim.
All I ever wanted for my children is to understand and to hold dear the idea – they, and they alone are the master of their ship. Refuse to be a victim, refuse to have others steal your happiness. Viktor Frankl talked about the space between what a person does to you, and how you choose to respond. Master that space – and master your emotions.
I’d like to close this post with one of my favorite Bible passages – I think it complements this idea perfectly Proverbs 16:32, He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, And he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city.