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BE INSPIRED AND INSPIRE

If

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If

  • Sebastien Grynko
  • Tags:
If

 

I was listening to Jocko Willink’s podcast and there was an article about If, the great poem by Rudyard Kipling.

 

In this podcast episode, he gave his interpretation of the poem.  I thought I would do something similar since I have always been a great fan of this poem which is so deep in meaning.

 

Below you will find the full poem, follow by my interpretation.

 

 

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!

 

 

   If you can keep your head when all about you   

    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,   

 

In life there will be times when your resolve is tested.  You might even be blamed and fingers might be pointed at you.

 

During those trying moments, you need to remain rational and wise.  Do not let emotions, stress and urgency overwhelm you.

 

Stay clear of restlessness.  Isolate yourself if you need to and figure a way out.

 

  If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

    But make allowance for their doubting too;   

 

This is one of my favourite verse.  It is about finding the right balance between giving in to arrogance and letting critics bring you down.

 

I wrote a whole article about this subject.  We need to be confident in our abilities and our resilience to move forward.

 

We also have to accept that critics come with the territory.  We need to be detached from the pain and the criticism to improve in our life and endeavours.

 

  If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

 

Th Buddha said that patience is the highest virtue.

 

We want things so fast nowadays and expect instant gratification but the best things in life come after a lot of patience and endurance.

 

  Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

 

People will say this about you that are false to advance their own cause. You need not stoop to their level.

 

Keep yourself upright and know that truth will eventually prevail.

 

  Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,

 

Hatred begets hatred. Love conquers hatred

 

   And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

 

Humility and restraint in your conduct is a virtue in itself.

 

Beware of your mouth and what comes out of it.  You might live to regret it.

 

  If you can dream — and not make dreams your master;   

 

Having a vision is important.  Dreaming about it is great too but it should be combined with actions in real life for reality to meet virtuality

 

   If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;   

 

Thinking is overrated.  Learn to contemplate and observe.  Be aware and be at peace.  Insights and ideas will come in due time.

 

  If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

    And treat those two impostors just the same;   

 

This is the verse of the poem. Shakespeare said that there is no good or bad situation. Only thinking make it so.

 

Learn to develop equanimity in your character. Do not be overjoyed when things go your way and do not get too distraught when things go south.

 

Learn to be balance.  It sounds dull and boring but it will bring you peace and joy.

 

  If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken

    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

 

Speaking from the heart is not always welcomed with positive greetings.  You might step on some toes.  People could use your wholesome words and turn them against you.

 

They will take them out of context to serve their purpose and belittle you in the process.

 

Sometimes the best course of action is non-action. You don’t want to seem too eager to defend yourself.

 

People might actually think your enemies might be right.

 

  Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,

    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

 

Failure is part of life.  Losing is the essence of failure.  Don’t let them destroy you inside.

 

When you fall. Get up. Dust yourself off and start little by little if you don’t feel like it.

 

Your tools are indeed worn-out but they are enough to get yourself back on the right path.

 

  If you can make one heap of all your winnings

      And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

   And lose, and start at your beginnings

      And never breathe a word about your loss;

 

Having a purpose in life is about getting out of your comfort zone and taking risks. The more calculated those risks are the less likely you are to fail.

 

However we are only humans and shit happens. Mistakes will be made and miscalculations happen. Too many are outside of our spectrum of control and foreseeing abilities.

 

We will fuckup and the only thing we can do is to leave the past in the past and start anew with better preparation and an improved mindset.

 

  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!’

 

Often, you will want to give up for it seems there is no more hope. Your mental exhaustion and doubts have crippled you.

 

You must learn to endure during those times and understand that this will pass.

 

  “Hold on” 

 

Hold on for dear life because those harsh times are not here to stay and sometimes the only thing you can do is wait.

 

    If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,   

       Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,

 

Crowds can lead to actions that you would never done by yourself.  Crowds can be used for good but historically they have been used for bad.

 

Do not let crowds change your wisdom.  Stay in touch but remain grounded.

 

And when you are “with Kings” remain humble and do not let your head blow out of proportion.

 

   If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,

 

Sometimes a friend can hurt you more than a foe.  Love can be given with less attachment.  Once you know how to be detached,  it is very hard to be hurt for you have lessen your expectations and understand the reality of relationships.

 

     If all men count with you, but none too much;

 

You can be reliable and yet keep your self reliance.

 

Make yourself unto an island as the Buddha said.

 

  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!

 

Everyday, every minute, every moment we get closer to our death.  Time is unforgiving.  That’s why it is our most precious asset.

 

We need to treat as such and not waste it on idle purposes.  Make your time worthwhile and never forget father time.

 

 

 

 

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About the Author

Sebastien Grynko

As a meditation teacher, a fitness & and muay thai fanatic/enthusiast with a taste for entrepreneurship. He decided to create a business which can combine all his passions and inspire people all over the world by helping people physically, mentally and spiritually to find their purpose, well-being and health to thrive and contribute to this world.

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