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!
What If we can Do This
What if we can be like this? Is it really possible to be a man like Rudyard Kipling explained how a man should be? Maybe, this version of man belongs to the past and no longer exists in our modern world. Maybe, this is a combination of men and not only one man. It may be like that if we see it all together as one and not going through its ifs one by one. There are many mays and ifs with this poem, but one thing for sure is that anybody can relate to at least one if found in this poem.
Have you ever been in a place where everybody is losing and doing really badly not knowing a way out of the mess they get themselves into except by blaming you for all the bad that has happened, but that doesn’t lead you to despair, anger or rage as you keep your head about you? Then you know something about IF.
Have you ever found the guts to keep your belief in yourself and what you can do no matter how much you are doubted by others, but you let them do this doubting thing and you never get angry because others cannot see what you can see inside yourself? Then you know something about IF.
Have you ever been the target for all the lies and hatred other people intend upon you and you, being hammered down with all sorts of lies and deceit, never try to let yourself be like them and you always fight with the honesty weapons you handle very well, much better than their crooked weapons you have never used? Then you know something about IF.
Have you ever dreamed with your head high above the clouds and your feet deeply rooted in the soil? Have you flown with thoughts to all the forbidden lands, but have not let the flights define your life as only you do? Have you tasted the ecstasy of victory, which nothing else can ever replace, but deep inside you know that the next step might be into a deep pit, so you stay on guard? Have you ever tasted the bitterness of defeat and among the glistening tears flowing down your cheeks, you can draw a smile for you well know that the up-step is inevitably waiting for you at the very next step, and you never lose heart? Then you know something about IF.
Have you ever had to bear with fools misunderstanding what you say, and marring the beauty and excellence of the ideas you had or the things you create, but that doesn’t lead you to rage and anger because you have always known that all prophets are strangers in their hometowns and that for each new stream there are many ancient rivers and rocks that will try to block its young virgin course, but there are always young streams replacing the old, young branches nurtured by the old to come out as new as it gets, haven’t you been there before? Then you know something about IF.
Have you ever built a majestic structure with your hands and heart and soul just to see it fall or destroyed by some angry anti-nature powers, but instead of falling along with your structure and be destroyed yourself, you search in the ruins for whatever left of your heart and soul, and no matter how battered down they are, you polish them and start to build as if nothing has happened at all? Have you ever started from scratch living off bread you have forgotten the taste of, been under the same scorching sun as if you had never found a shade, but you nag nothing about what you have lost and never breathe a word for you know the time it takes to tell this sad story of yours you can use for silently rebuilding it all over again? Then you know something about IF.
If this long journey of your life has taken everything from you, your body aches, your eyes can barely see, your hands shake at holding anything, when no more can you handle the tough storms of this world, but by the only thing nature and man can never take from you, your will, then you know something about IF.
If nothing can change who you really are; if you alone dictate the person you want to be and you don’t melt and blend with other mixtures losing your identity; if nobody can hurt you anymore, not because you no longer feel the slings and arrows of time, but because you are still placing your shield of confidence in the face of them all; if you can use every second of every minute of every day knowing what you are doing when it starts and when it ends and knowing that you are not doing what you are supposed to do, but what you want to do, then you know something about IF, and you must feel what it is like to be human.