How To Meet Triumph and Disaster

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    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!

    By Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936).

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    Matt Clarkson
    The Mind-Body Training Company

      4 Responses to “How To Meet Triumph and Disaster”

      1. Thanks Matt,
        That poem is awesome! I have enjoyed your meditations for months now. You are truly a man of great depth!
        Laura Cooper

      2. Mary Leeds says:

        Thanks Matt — really enjoyed the poem.


      3. What can we do about that last line? It seems a bit sexist to me. But considering all the meditation I’ve been doing lately, I have a suggestion:

        You’ll be ENLIGHTENED, my CHILD.

        While I was reading, I was reminded of a Zen parable, which says that If you can meet a king or a beggar with the same equanimity, you have become enlightened!

      4. Hi Gloria,

        I really like you’re ending to the poem. Of course Kipling was writing a long time ago so I think we can forgive him for not being 100% politically correct by modern standards.

        All the best,


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