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!
Short Poem Analysis
"If" by Rudyard Kipling is a motivational and inspirational poem that offers a set of guidelines for living a meaningful and fulfilling life. Through its practical wisdom, positive affirmations, and timeless advice, the poem encourages readers to cultivate resilience, self-discipline, and inner strength.
The poem is structured as a series of conditional statements, each addressing a specific virtue or quality that the speaker believes contributes to personal growth and character development. These virtues include traits like patience, perseverance, humility, and integrity.
The repeated use of the word "If" at the beginning of each stanza sets the tone for the poem's contemplative and introspective nature. The conditional structure of the poem presents the virtues as choices or challenges that individuals must face in order to navigate life's complexities.
The poem's language is straightforward and accessible, making its message universal and relatable. The use of parallelism in the stanzas adds a rhythmic and memorable quality to the poem.
The poem's closing lines emphasize the idea that success and maturity come through balanced living and maintaining one's composure in various situations. The speaker's advice to "fill the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds' worth of distance run" speaks to the importance of making the most of every opportunity.
"If" is often interpreted as a guide to ethical and moral living, promoting qualities of character that contribute to personal growth and positive contributions to society. The poem's message resonates across generations, offering timeless advice for facing life's challenges with courage, wisdom, and integrity.
Overall, "If" by Rudyard Kipling serves as a reminder of the values that can lead to a meaningful and purposeful life. Its concise and profound wisdom continues to inspire individuals to strive for personal excellence, resilience, and the pursuit of virtue.