I was so impressed with the truth of this poem as a teenager that I asked my Dad what he thought of it. He acknowledged that it was "pretty damn good" but said the section "If all men count with you, but none too much" didn't strike him as true.

"Bobby, he said, I've been burned a number of times for trusting too much. On the other hand, I have very many close friends that I would never would have had if I followed that advice. I'd rather have my friends than to be as careful as that all the time to avoid getting burned ". I never forgot the truth of his comment, and have followed his advice. I'm glad I have.


If you can keep your head while all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowances 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 these two imposters 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.

Rudyard Kipling

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