Strokes of Genius

Last Update: March 09, 2016

When I was a little boy my father was a US Naval Admiral, who much to my dismay at the time, was an avid reader. The dismay wasn't in his love of reading. It was in his unrelenting imposition of his pastime on me.

His favorite "weapon of choice" was a poem entitled "If", written by Rudyard Kipling, a British novelist of enormous talent and popularity. Kipling wrote this poem for his 9 year old son who would die on a WW1 battlefield a few short years later.

The author's words inspired a nation back then, and me a little later, and millions since. I hope you like and will pass it around.


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 worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all 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!

Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)

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MarionBlack Premium
This still gives me goose-bumps when I read it. I used to be able to recite the poem when I was a lot younger. Thanks for the reminder Dick. ~Marion
dickw Premium
Thanks Marion.That you appreciate his work is no small surprise. I appreciate you.
freedom1207 Premium
Nice post, Dick. Wise words from a great writer and poet who I share the same birthdate with! Warmly, Heather.
dickw Premium
Thanks Heather. Coming from you that means something.
MarinaR Premium
Thanks fot sharing. Very true and still inspiring today.
dickw Premium
Thanks Edu. You are right on. Kipling knew this too.
TopAchiever Premium
Thanks for sharing these wise words with us Dick! They help to combat the blows we experience in life and keep us strong and courageous to fight life's battles with confidence and assurance that we will succeed!

Onward and upward!