A poem for life

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In the early 1920s, American writer Max Ehrmann wrote the poem Desiderata (Latin for “things desired”). Almost a century later I stumbled upon the same. Despite the gap of a hundred years, there’s something about his words that deeply resonated with me. As if driven by an unseen force, I inked the poem on a sheet and hung it in front of my desk. Its message continues to inspire me every single day.

Each time I have an existential crisis, I turn to this poem.

Each time I feel a sense of hopelessness, I turn to this poem.

Each time I question my worth, I turn to this poem.

And every single time, this poem succeeds in soothing the storm raging in my mind and instills a sense of peace.

In sharing these words, I sincerely hope that you too are able to find some meaning.

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.

Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be.

And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.

Be cheerful. Strive to be happy

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