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...by Rudyard Kipling, is without any doubt a motivational poem, an inspirational one commemorating the general virtues it should be in children, how to gain the love and faith of others, how to move on with the head held high. Life's lessons, how to receive if one wants to grow without bothering for loss and gain, without being disturbed with, go on doing your job is the lesson which it imparts. There is definitely something in the background of the poem which refers to the Victorian era stoicism, written as a tribute to Leander Starr Jameson and also as an instruction or moral lesson given to his son. The poem is in the form of a paternal advice given to a son as has Nehru letters to Priyadarshini Indira from jail. There is something of karma, Indian karma and dharma which Kipling mentions it not and it is better to hold a balanced view of life neither to be puffed with pride nor to be down with humiliation. To be a stoic is the best poise held ever, never to be disturbed by victory and defeat. If... as a poem is one of head and heart, mind and soul, good spirit and judgement and it inspires us as well as motivates us in doing something, in pursuing a career but unmindful of loss and gain, victory and defeat as these come on their own with nothing to do with merrymaking and mourning.
If... as a poem puts in the condition, the clause as for doing something and achieving it with so much calm and resignation, approval and acceptance whatever be the outcome. Manhood lies it in showing resilience. Such a thing Robert Browning says it in The Last Ride Together and John Milton in On His Blindness. To see it in the Miltonic terms, the best way is to wait for with patience, is to do one's duty, to accomplish one's job with entire satisfaction and sincerity, virtue and goodness of heart. There are so many at His Command.
If...imparts a moral lesson and is didactic as it coaxes to develop virtues, good thoughts and ideas without keeping in mind loss and gain, victory and defeat. The theme of the poem commonly lies it in the grappling of situations in life. How to deal with situations? What should it be the goal of life? How to be a good man? How to develop good virtues? What the moral lessons learnt or given to? What will you do when you grow up? How to be a man? How to get respect from others? How to develop confidence in you? How to build and re-build yourself?
If you can keep head high, if you can trust yourself, if you can wait for patiently without being restless without bothering about nonsense, without lying about then move ahead. To be good and wise is to be unmindful of that. Hear them if have to, but without being perturbed. Something if has to be heard it should be passed out from the ears. You just hear them and let it pass. Do not bother about what the world says. Just go on doing your work. If the people doubt about, let them, your confidence will speak it one day. Do not be disheartened. Do not lose patience. When being hated, hate you not. When they lie about, lie you not. There is no scope for lies in life as these come to naught. Try to compromise with the situations of life and keep on making the roadway. Man is the maker of his own fate, goes the proverb, so keep you doing, moving on the path of life. The poem seems to be a song of the karmayogin and life a lesson in karmayoga. Do your duty without bothering about the fruit of action.
If you dream, dream you no doubt, but dreams must not overpower you, dreams must not take you away from you. You can think, but over thinking may mislead you. Do not think too much. So many thoughts may lead you astray. Your words the knaves may distort it for the fools to joke about, but do not take into mind. You try to stand by what you have said to. Be true to yourself, true to your words. Try to gather strength from your experiences of life. There is something that you have given to and something that you have got from society and life. So, you need to recreate and rejoin them to create it afresh after reshaping it. Here the things match with Robert Frost’s Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening. If you can treat them alike, clutch them, Triumph and Defeat along then you are the right person with the right verve and strength to do it.
Even after the wins and victories, if start you losing, do not be unnerved. Try to gather strength in you and start regaining, reclaiming it. Make a new beginning. Begin it afresh to make the way for. Even if feel you exhausted, try to refresh you yourself with the resources available within you. Your past winnings too have a treasure of their own. Even if they part ways, lose you not your heart. You have experiences with you; you have the memories of them with you. So, why to be unnerved with losses? Things come and go away, but memories and experiences remain it as the residues of meaning, life, thought and idea.
If you can talk with crowds, walk with kings without leaving the common touch without being hurt by friends and foes winning the appreciation and admiration of all then why to fear it? Who to be afraid of? Why to be afraid of? Why to worry about? The trophy is yours; the world is yours. If all are equal in your eyes then what to say it about? If you can know the value of seconds or can even attach importance to a minute’s worth, the world is yours, the Earth is yours, my son and you can be a man, the poet says it in the end of the poem.
If... as a poem is just like H.W.Longfellow’s A Psalm of Life and has a strong didactic strain. It has a good moral to give to as for how to live nobly with so much respect. This life is not for to be idled away; this is for to do something big and the aim at doing big will make you big in your life. Try to be working and patient and dutiful. If you work, the world is yours and if you do not, the world is not. Why did you get your birth here? You are for to do something. You are for to achieve your goal. But do not be after victory. Just go you doing your work; just go you accepting the wins and losses whatever it comes the way. Never complain against, show a grudge against anyone. Just keep you doing your work and the mere act of doing will make you big. Name and fame count they not, what is more important is to be a man. What is more important is your karma, your karma is your dharma.