Rudyard Kipling (1865 – 1936) was a British author and poet born in colonial Bombay, India – modern-day Mumbai. He was best known for his childrens’ books The Jungle Book and Rikki-Tikki-Tavi. However, he was quite an accomplished poet. Some criticized him later in life as a proponent of British Imperialism. That said, his writing was accomplished and has been read by generations of children and adults alike.
“If…” was written in 1910 and is every bit as motivational and true today as the day it was penned. It’s simply timeless. It is one of my absolute favorite poems. Parts of this poem have proliferated greeting cards for many years.
If is a most powerful word. It demands no belief. It defies every dogma and every attempt limit its scope. In two letters, the word If disengages the critical mind and engages the imagination. No less than Albert Einstein stated firmly, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
Once that happens, a million impossibilities become real, they become present, and they become possible.
Absorb Kipling’s message and you will be empowered.
By 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 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 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!
for 6 Sense Media
Ray Davis is the Founder of The Affirmation Spot and co-founder of 6 Sense Media. He’s been writing, recording, and using affirmations for 30 years. He’s also the author of Anunnaki Awakening. He advocates for the potential of the human race. He’s life-long history buff and holds a B.S. in History Education.
This article first appeared on the TAS blog September 14, 2008.