One of my favourite poems, source of determination and strength…
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, 1895
…the only dimension it does not integrate is the importance of community and exchange. Others are not necessarily opponents; they could be our mirrors, our examples and support. Our love, or hate, or inspiration; we construct ourselves by cooperation far more efficiently than by opposition.
Man is by nature a social animal; an individual who is unsocial naturally and not accidentally is either beneath our notice or more than human. Society is something that precedes the individual. Anyone who either cannot lead the common life or is so self-sufficient as not to need to, and therefore does not partake of society, is either a beast or a god. ― Aristotle, Politics
Now, what I really love is this strong accent on the power you have to build your own life no matter circumstancies.
There is something infantile in the presumption that somebody else has a responsibility to give your life meaning and point… The truly adult view, by contrast, is that our life is as meaningful, as full and as wonderful as we choose to make it ― Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion
The importance of being straight, keeping your virtue, preserving your values, staying yourself in every situation and keeping going no matter difficulties. Our history, our maneer to define ourselves are determined by our reactions to life situations we faced.
I discovered a very good analysis of this topic in “Story: Style, Structure, Substance, and the Principles of Screenwriting” of Robert McKee. The author explains the difference between Character and Characterization. Characterization is an unique assemblage of traits of a human being which could be knowable through an observation of his/her everyday life habits, preferencies, choices etc. The character…
True CHARACTER is revealed in the choices a human being makes under pressure – the greater the pressure, the deeper the revelation, the truer the choice to the character’s essential nature. – Robert McKee, Story: Style, Structure, Substance, and the Principles of Screenwriting
So who we (really) are is determined by how do we react under pressure, inconveniences, etc. This is what remains and gives us force. This is what makes us a Man or a Woman. This is why it is so good to periodically revert to this powerful poem.
There are three constants in life… Change, Choice and Principles – Stephen R. Covey
Take care, be strong!