If – by Rudyard Kipling

by Life-Engineering on January 25, 2011 · 12 comments

I’ve moved this post to my new Life-Engineering blog, dedicated to motivating people to achieve their goals and change their futures by taking control of their lives.

You can now find this post here:


{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 David H. Sundwall September 2, 2008 at 9:48 PM

What a great poem. It’s nice to be reminded of it every once in awhile. I used to carry it around with me.


2 Laurel Brooks September 2, 2008 at 10:03 PM

Great Poem.
I have this Poem framed in my Office.
Regards Laurel Brooks


3 Margaret September 2, 2008 at 10:14 PM

It has been one of my favorites since High School many years ago.


4 Eric Nielson September 3, 2008 at 12:44 PM

I gotta print this out.


5 ditchu September 3, 2008 at 1:15 PM

I plan on giving this poem to my son, sometime when he reaches one of those mileposts about becomming a man. Maybe about 16y/o. Not too earily that the effect is lost but not too late as so it will help in his development.

Kippling is one of the greats, but I like Longfellow the best.


6 Rusty Lindquist September 3, 2008 at 1:20 PM

I know what you mean, Longfellow is marvelous. This poem of Kiplings though, it just really nails it.

I’m glad you guys like it too.


7 Eric Nielson September 3, 2008 at 2:13 PM

One part of this I don’t quite get is the winnings/risk gamble. Why is this level of risk taking a virtue?

I am not trying to throw stones, just trying to gain a better understanding of the virtue of risk taking.


8 Rusty Lindquist September 3, 2008 at 3:04 PM

That’s a really good question. I interpret that to mean that there are times when, to reach our fullest potential, we have to exert a certain amount of risk. We have to put ourselves on the line. We have to leave the comfort of the known and accept the possibility that by so doing, we just might fail, we just might lose it all, but be willing to stretch ourselves just the same. And then if we do lose, if we do fail, we simply keep going.

In my mind, he’s describing what I cover here “Reconciling hope and failure”.

What I don’t think he’s talking about, is carelessness, foolishness, or risk for the sake of risk (gambling, per say). But rather a state of mind that encourages us to reach farther, even when we know we might miss.


9 ditchu September 3, 2008 at 5:31 PM

“I’d wager that Kippling was a betting Man.” Just a little humor… But on the serious side of this small issue of the Risk and losing it all, I think the valor comes to us with what we do when we have lost.
It is like love, you never really love what you cannot lose. I noticed this truth when my wife threatened one day to walk out on me when I was being a pompus hinney in our relationship and loading her down unfairly with the house work. Well I also noticed at that time that I could have lost her and that re-sparked my intent on keeping her close who is precious to me.

Or is it a metaphor of raising kids someday I will have to toss it all to the wind, and see if my Boy can “Take flight, or fall, depending on his own abilities and choices. I cannot always intervine and protect him from everything. It is no measure of a man to hold the control over his family, but to be able to govern with kindness, gentilness and love, to make the decisions after everyone has had their say, that is the position of father and husband.

Maybe I am getting too deep in this.. I’ll leave it to you all now.


10 Nikki May 19, 2012 at 1:25 AM

That’s a wise answer to a tricky qutesoin


11 ryan September 3, 2008 at 5:45 PM

love it D, I agree.


12 owen59 September 3, 2008 at 7:09 PM

It rings a bell, so perhaps I read it as a youngster (B.TV). It is fabulously inspirational, although as I creep close to that 50th birthday, I feel the pain that has drawn that poem from Kipling’s soul, like a poultice draws pus from a wound, and later, when the wound is healed, when the outcome is achieved, there is recognition that indeed it was the right path. But while testing the path, what conundrum’s, and I think Kipling has also alluded to them here.


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