IF by Rudyard Kipling

My favorite piece of writing (kept in my planner and on my wallboard since 1992). I’ve lived every line….

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 them 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 all that is in it,  And – which is more you will be a man, my son.


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