June 1, 2020

55. Universal Man in a Crisis

In this episode we talk a little bit about what it means to be a Universal Man in a crisis. And in particular, finding your creed. Your guiding principles that help you through this time.

Below is the text of the famous poem by Rudyard Kipling – ‘If’. The poem was written about 1895 as a tribute by Kipling to Leander Starr Jameson – it is a classic example of Victorian era stoicism. Kipling is writing to his son John giving him father’s advice and using Jameson as an example of ‘being a true man’!


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

Universal Man and Crisis

Grego and Pricey would like to challenge the Universal Men out there to reflect on this poem and use it to call us to an even deeper appreciation of who we can be and what we can contribute in these difficult times. Many poems can be like a creed for philosophy for life – this one certainly is.

Our task

  1. So our UMan task is to read the poem – analyse it and find what resonates for you – nothing may but we are hoping that something in the poem well. Then ask;
  • What line in this poem do you like and why?
  • What line / lines apply to our current situation and why?
  1. Then reflect – if you were going to write a poem – share some advice and wisdom during a time of Crisis what would you say?

What would be in your poem?

  • What is your wisdom from the present situation?
  • What topics / points would you talk about? 
  • If you could write a poem – for the next generation from the lesson you have learnt and are learning about being a man in a time of Crisis – what would be some of the key elements?
  1. Thirdly, WRITE a poem from your heart:
  • Get the creative writing genius in you going and send a few lines / or a whole poem to pricey and Grego – info@universalman.org
  • Send them to Pricey and Grego – we are not looking for a Byron or Keats or Shakespeare – just the ideas – in a phrase / a line etc.
  • Credit will be given to ALL that submit

Pricey went back to his primary school note book and penned the following! Lets hope you do better than him!

The glint in the eye

Don’t look for the giant nor the six pack man

But rather the glint in the eye

Forget the bravado and swagger and all

But respect the calm step towards the storm

Pub talk is cheap as you work a crowd

While the man see what needs to be done

Gone is he who looks for applause

While the true man acts when there is none

Fear and the night can wrap around tight

But the man points to the one shining star

A hope for a dawn that will always come

Despite the strongest of storms and the beat of the drum

Times like this can question and fear

The man digs deeper to what’s always near

His courage, conviction and belief in the best

That comes to the fore – a man at his best!