One Of The World’s Greatest Speeches

Oh that this motivational speaker could aspire to give a speech even half as good as this one. My husband had to memorize this as a young child – as an assignment from his grandfather. Yes, that is how character is taught.

by Rudyard Kipling

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

(Another favorite speech: Sermon on the Mount, by Jesus)

(What are some of your favorite speeches? Perhaps the one Lincoln scribbled on a napkin? Or maybe the one that starts “I have a dream”?)


Motivational Speaker Kelly Swanson - called one of North Carolina's funniest women by Our State Magazine. Kelly lifts the spirits of audiences from coast-to-coast using humor, storytelling, and lives of the characters from Prides Hollow - Kelly's make believe small town. This unique approach to motivational speaking allows Kelly to break through communications barriers and connect directly to the audience's imagination.
Her powerful stories and wacky wit will make you laugh, remind you that you matter, show you how to see beyond your obstacles, and teach you how to stand up and stick out in a crowded market.
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  1. Wow, Kelly, I’m so impressed that Bill’s grandfather had the wisdom to pass those wonderful words on to his grandson!  I have to think this one over and get back to you with my favorite speech.  Meanwhile, another forwarded blog to my 2 boys.  Thank you for sharing Kipling!

  2. Thanks Polly. Yes, I find it extremely impressive that his grandfather had him memorize this. He can still recite it. Granted, he does have almost a photographic memory – but still. And I know that technically this is not a speech. Then again – I think it was quoted in one of Shakespeare’s plays too, but I can’t remember reference. Bill can, I’m sure. Bill, are you listening?

  3. Wow! What words and how I wish I could see Bill as a boy saying them out loud for Grandpa.

  4. Wow – I surely do wish I had given this to MY son when he was little and asked him to memorize it!  It’s funny how those kinds of “messages” operate on a subconscious level, guiding and informing our actions – when we are not even consciously aware of it.  And knowing Bill, I would say that these words certainly HAVE influenced his behavior in a most positive way!! Thanks for sharing this Kelly!

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