June 23, 2017 – If

I love the poem If by Rudyard Kipling. I’m some circles it’s trite because guys who want to look manly often refer to it in order to bolster their perceptions of themselves. On the other hand, I’m surprised by how many people I’ve mentioned the poem to who have never heard it before.

This week at work has been an acute reminder of Kipling’s charge. People were losing their heads about molehills and accepting first versions of stories as fact resulting in demands for othe people’s heads when the innocent hadn’t yet been proven guilty. It’s easy to be beaten down in that kind of environment, but then the asylum residents win.

Sorry for the rant but it’s a purposeful rant. Read the poem of you haven’t before and ponder the charge. If you have read it before, no matter how many times, read it again and let it bolster your resolve. Oh, and don’t worry about the gender in the poem. Kipling lives during an age of chivalry and chauvinism. But as I’ve written before, our girls are as tough or tougher than any guy Kipling ever met.

“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!”

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