Hold On

Where did I get the tagline “Hold On?”

It’s from Rudyard Kipling’s poem “If” written in 1910 about a father explaining to his son the qualities of being a man. I’ve found myself in several races with nothing left in the tank and a mile, maybe two left to go. When you’re that far gone it’s easy to pull over, to chuck it and walk away. Nobody would blame you for walking away. Your heart rate is well over 90%, and for me the last two miles I’m holding about 195bpm which is about four minutes. I want to pass out. But the line “… force your heart and nerve and sinew to serve your turn long after they are gone…” is an idea to focus on to get me to the end.

You could also interpret it as “…keep your head when all about you are losing theirs…” which was Dennis Hopper’s line as Photojournalist in Apocolypse Now. But the reason for that may be addressed in future posts.

For now, the full poem is:

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 imposters 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 wornout 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 breath 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

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