The If Project: Week Nine Finale!

The If Project takes the text of Rudyard Kipling’s poem “If” and breaks it down into digestible chunks of wisdom. Each week, we’ll take a few lines of the poem and focus on the life lessons and behaviors Kipling puts forth as empowering.

This is a mindfulness practice, which will help you consciously build better behavioral habits pertaining to interpersonal interactions and other areas of your life.

For reference, the entire poem is included at the bottom of this post.

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The lines for week nine are:

“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!.”

You made it to the last stanza of “If”! Congrats and well done! Kipling wraps up his long list of ideal behaviors, and he’s convinced you can take on the entire Earth if you follow his advice!

Obviously, I believe the traits espoused by Kipling throughout this poem can apply just as equally to women as they do to men. So let’s take the “you’ll be a Man, my son” with a huge grain of salt!

Consistency is the key to any pursuit! If you can put in sustained effort, put in the hard work toward your goals, then you will accomplish something! Even if it’s not in the way you initially assumed, you will achieve if you make a regular habit of your forward momentum. Consistency can often be more important that talent!

The world is a blank canvas for your aspirations. Don’t see it as simply a place of misery or blind joy. All things are encompassed in the world, and that makes this life dynamic and, well, alive!

So, strive to fill every last second of every minute of every day with your intention and take action! Even during times of ebbing energy, you can still keep your mind on the proverbial prize! If you do this, you will be ahead of many who procrastinate and put off desired change and growth.

If you pursue your goals, you will inevitably affect the world around you by your example. It’s an indirect consequence of forward momentum, and the antithesis of the stagnant inertia of the status quo.

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Please be sure to leave comments to share your experiences during this “applied humanities” project, and tell others about this series! Remember: this series is part of my effort to spread the word about applied humanities, which involves the active use of literature and other art forms to practically and positively influence everyday behavior. Ultimately, the humanities can be consumed passively or actively, but either way they can remind us what it means to be human, as well as everyday heroes.

If, 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 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!

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One thought on “The If Project: Week Nine Finale!

  1. Pingback: The If Project: Week Nine Finale! | Top World Blog

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