What Inspiration Do You Carry in “Your Pocket?”

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Rumor has it Muhammad Ali carried in his pocket a copy of Rudyard Kipling’s poem “If.”

This morning, in his excellent, weekly newsletter, 5-Bullet Friday, Tim Ferriss said he’s studying the poem.

I’m sitting at Lambert St. Louis International Airport waiting to board a plane to Tampa…

…and I’m studying the poem, too.

I like it.

And I like the idea of carrying inspirational words in your pocket…

…or, at least, in your memory bank.

When I was in high school, I carried in my head Todd Rundgren’s song “Just One Victory”

I talk about that in the opening pages of my forthcoming book: “When things weren’t going my way in high school, I’d put Todd Rundgren on the turntable, listen to “Just One Victory”, and transform from down-and-out to up-and-at-it.”

— how song lyrics (and other words) have the power to transform us.

What poem, song, or other words have you carried in your pocket for inspiration? Shoot me a reply. I’d love to hear your story.


If

by Rudyard Kiplang

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 so

Don't go away yet..

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Tom Ruwitch

Tom Ruwitch is the founder and CEO of Story Power Marketing. For more than 30 years, he has helped businesses grow by delivering powerful stories using a variety of different media.