If is a powerful word. It carries hope and optimism, fear of failure and defeat. It can be obsessive and doubtful. It can be joyous and full of faith. If is a good word. But more important than the power of a word, or the power of a color, is the person who uses them. We can spend lives using colors and words without truly understanding that their power comes from how we use them and what we build with them. Do we grow worlds of vibrant color that change our communities and make lives better? Do we speak hope and faith into bridges that unite people’s?

I think that the secret of great leaders, artists, and people is finding the calmness that comes from maturing in truth into adulthood. The rites of passage previous generations had are missing in our contemporary world of instant gratification. We are producing men and women, (and clearly, mostly men) that don’t understand what being a grown up means. And the words and colors they use are blown away by time and wind. The things they build don’t last. They sit in their fatalistic boats, and are blown about, rudderless, in a raging sea. But there is an IF. A hope. A recovery of adult self is possible: A recovery of calm and control.

Rudyard Kipling knew. He knew what it took:


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!




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