Tag Archives: poem

IF: Keeping Your Head

In 2008, the United States of America elected its forty-fourth president, President Barack Obama, in the midst of one of the worst economic situations we have seen since The Great Depression.  From the moment he took office he has been blamed for the employment rates, national debt and all overall economy issues.  No one can argue that it is his responsibility to make things better and lead the country in the right direction.  However, can someone truly be blamed for a problem they inherited? I could take time here and share my political opinion but that is for another book. Here I wanted to high light the president’s response.  When the entire country is frustrated by jobs, wages and a host of unaddressed issues and everyone is looking at him demanding answers and criticizing him for the slow recovery, President Obama remained calm and collected.  He stays true his agenda and does not allow the blame from others to shake his focus.  Regardless of how you feel about his policies, this is a point of interest for anyone seeking to accomplish their goals and realize their dreams.
In the book, Developing the Leader Within You, author John C. Maxwell (2005) explains that “The Greek word for self-control comes from a root word meaning “to grip” or “take hold of.”  This word describes people who are willing to get a grip on their lives and take control of areas that will bring them success or failure” Maxwell (2005, p.161). Kipling opens his poem with the very first conditional supposition, “if you can keep you head…”  This implies to me how important the idea of self-discipline is in the attainment of ones goals.  Before you can do anything in preparation for the life you want to live, you must conquer self-discipline.  Maxwell quotes a gentleman by the name of Edwin Markham who had this to say on the subject:
We are blind until we see that in the human plan nothing is worth the making if it does not make the man.  Why build these cities glorious if man unbuilded goes? [sic] In vain we build the world unless the builder also grows (p. 162).
This statement is no different than the law of self-preservation.  Self-discipline is about dealing with what is going on inside of you.  It does no good to even accomplish your goal if you are not able to learn and grow alone the way.  While building your dreams you should be building yourself.  “When we are foolish, we want to conquer the world.  When we are wise, we want to conquer ourselves” (p. 163).  Those who are able to keep their heads in the midst of ciaos are those that understand that they learning even when they are the teacher.
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