This is among my favorite poems, but it was written in the nineteenth century and the language was not inclusive. Therefore, this magnificent message was treated as pertaining to males.
A trifling few adjustments, however, make it obvious, IF is not applicable only to males. The message it conveys is pertinent to and valuable for any human being.
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 people 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 them 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 Monarchs—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all persons 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—among them all you’ll be the one!
According to Wikipedia:
“If—” is a poem by British Nobel laureate Rudyard Kipling, written in 1895[and first published in Rewards and Fairies, 1910. It is a tribute to Leander Starr Jameson,and is written in the form of paternal advice to the poet’s son. As poetry, “If—” is a literary example of Victorian-era stoicism.