If…Through the Eyes of the Warrior

IF

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!

Rudyard Kipling


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;

The warrior has to keep a calm mind in everyday life and in emergencies. Thinking rational is vital to the warrior. Others may panic over the situation; they may point the finger at you, but nonetheless, you have to keep your mind calm. Be a rock in the midst of the storm. Don’t allow some else’s panic to become yours; just continue to stay the course and meet each obstacle with a calm and rational mind.

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;

As a warrior, you have to spend time meditating on your sense of right and wrong, and your code of honor. You don’t do this in order to feel superior to others, although living life by these standards will make you superior, or as Confucius said, “A superior man.” The reason that you need to meditate on your standards of honor and integrity is to develop this trust in your sense of right and wrong. You have to know why you live according to your code. You have to develop trust in your sense of right and wrong.

At the same time though, you have to be able to understand that the majority of people do not live life this way. They do not spend time meditating on how they should live their life, or what determines what is right or what is wrong. Don’t expect others to understand you, but you should be wise enough to understand others. They will doubt you and your way of life, that’s ok; just don’t doubt yourself. Demand honor and integrity from yourself, but don’t demand it from those who do not understand the concepts.

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;

People will lie about you and they will hate you for standing up for your principles and not being willing to bend where your integrity is concerned. This is not your concern. Your job is to do what you know is right. You are responsible for YOUR actions, not the actions of other people. If they lie, it doesn’t give you the green light to lie. If they hate, it doesn’t give you the ok to hate them back. You do what you know you should and let them be responsible for their own actions.

Although you understand this, it is important not to make a show of your understand. You don’t want to go around acting like you are better than others or wiser than others, even though you may be. Just simply understand that your job is too concentrate on living your life the best that you can, not to correct the faults of others. If they ask for your advice, give it. If they don’t ask for your advice, keep it to yourself. Nobody likes someone who makes them feel inferior.

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;

It is ok to dream and have goals, but at the same time you have to actually live your life in the present moment, not just dream for the future and sit around and wait for things to be perfect before you start to live. You should have dreams and goals. You should spend time in thought and meditation…but at the same time, you can’t only do these things. You must live life to the fullest, rather than live in a fantasy world constructed in your mind.

If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;

Good things will happen. Bad things will happen. This is life. Just live life and understand that you will have ups and downs, and neither will be the “be all, end all” in your life. They are just part of life. You should enjoy your triumphs and you must endure the disasters which will most likely cross your path. These are just part of life. Live your life to the fullest. Don’t get too high or too low, but rather just deal with each and every event in your life the best that you can.

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;

People will take your words and twist them around to make you look bad or simply to start controversy. And yes, fools will believe what they say. They will look at only one side of the coin because they aren’t wise enough to look beyond what is presented to them as truth. People will attack and try to destroy the things which you stand for; men of honor are frequently attacked for their beliefs. Just expect it and learn to deal with it. That is the way it is. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that you continue to walk the path of the warrior.

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;

Don’t put too much importance on material things. Material things come and go; they aren’t permanent. The sages tell us that your good name, your character, and your honor are permanent, but not things such as your wealth, your health, or your looks. Therefore you should be more concerned about things which are lasting, as opposed to things which are fleeting. Make sure that you have your priorities straight. Know what is really important and what is not.

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!”

What forces you to continue when you have nothing left? What is it in a man that will give him the strength to continue to fight even when his body can no longer function? It is his warrior spirit or as Kipling says, “The Will.” No matter what is going on in your life, don’t quit. Don’t give up. Things change and they will change when you least expect them too. You don’t want to find that you have quit on minutes before your victory. Be stubborn and make your warrior spirit your courage.

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch;

Do not let the actions of others affect you. Be yourself. Live according to your standards, whether you find yourself in the company of scumbags or the President. The warrior shouldn’t live one way around high class people and one way around low class people. He is not a chameleon. He should have enough confidence in his way of life to walk by his code in whatever company he finds himself in.

Don’t lower your standards just to suit those who live by lower standards, and don’t think so highly of yourself that you can’t carry on a civil conversation with those who obviously do not understand the way of the warrior. The warrior shouldn’t put his honor and a shelf when it is inconvenient or put it on for show simply to impress someone else. Don’t appear to be a man of honor; be a man of honor.

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;

Understand that people will do and say hurtful things and that there are a multitude of reasons and factors behind their actions. Try not to take their actions personally. Most of the time their actions have nothing to do with you, they are just venting and they don’t really mean what they say or do. Remember, not everyone lives by the same high standards that you live by. Don’t let the actions of other affect you.

Yes, I know this is a tall order, but you will find more peace if you are able to let others’ word and actions roll off your back like water off a duck. Don’t put too much faith in anyone else. You should treat everyone with respect, but don’t expect the same in return. Again, you take care of your actions and your words, and don’t expect perfect from others.

If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run –

Live in the NOW. Don’t waste your time. You only live once in this life and you should live it to the fullest. Don’t allow fear, laziness, self-consciousness, worry, etc. to interfere with you living your life the way that you truly want to live it. As Kipling said, the minute is unforgiving. If you don’t use it, you lose it. There is no second chance.

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

And a true man is a true warrior. Enough said…

Bohdi Sanders
Warrior Wisdom

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