Rudyard Kipling’s “If” is one of the most celebrated poems in the corpus of English Literature. The poem was published in 1910 in Kipling’s collection of children’s stories, Rewards and Fairies,along with “Brother Square Toes,” Washington’s inspiring tenure during the French Revolution.The poem aims at delivering moral instruction to the little minds and also functions as a source of motivation. It soon turned into an anthem to impart instruction and instill inspiration. The emphasis on the second person “you’ indicates the one-to-one correspondence between the speaker and listener.
The first lesson the poet communicates is to be positive in face of differences of opinion and disapproval. The easiest resort for a person is to blame his failures on others: the basic tendency of men to pacify the supreme ego . One should learn to take responsibility for his actions. Self-confidence and Self-respect are the best assets one can own. Nevertheless, self-confidence must not verge on over-confidence and must make room for others’ views and beliefs. One must rely on the self, while others regard his capabilities with suspicion. If one patiently and persistently waits for the fruits of one’s perseverance, nothing can stop him. A wise man once said: “A man is not poor if he does not possess a penny. He is poor if he does not have dream, so to live he must have dream.” It is hope that keeps one going on and on. It takes one great fortitude to tackle being lied about ,and yet not indulge in untruths. Do not get affected by others’ hatred for you. You do not require a character-certificate from others to assess yourself. Likewise do not let other’s hatred towards you affect you. Appearances are not everything: therefore, do not try too hard to look good; and do not talk too wisely and pander to affectation.
One must dream, for hope makes living worth. However, this dreaming must not limit itself to building castles in the air. One must think deeply, but try not to limit his endeavor to thinking alone, because being practical is also equally imperative. For, too much thinking leads one to vacillation. One must treat triumphs and disasters with the same attitude and approach. They are two sides of the same coin-Life. Failures are to be more cherished, as, what failure can teach you, successes can never can. If you can deal with the manipulation of the truth, you stand an inch taller.Further,if you witness the devastation of things you once built., and rebuild the same with a rekindled fire, nothing can stop you.
One may forsake all hitherto hard-earned riches for a worthy risk, and may lose the same. If the person, works on rebuilding he same without a word complaint, it reflects on his profound dignity in the face of defeat. The continuation of a legacy when others have left, or left you in a lurch; and holding onto the same owing to your iron will power and unrelenting determination is the hallmark of a superhuman personality. As Ernest Hemingway says in The Old Man and the Sea,” Man can be destroyed, but not defeated.” If one can talk with the crowds and not bow down to small talks; if one can walk with the kings and yet remain down to earth. If one can fill a minute of unforgiveness with endurance, the earth does not own you, rather you own the world. And more significantly you become a Man, because you do not give room to ‘Ifs.’
© Rukhaya MK 2010
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