A Plan to Live By…Not Just Luck.


When a good friend graduated from college, I sent him a card to congratulate him and wish him well in graduate school. I received a copy of the following poem from him as an early graduation present…I would not finish college for another year or so. He was two years older and much wiser than me at that time. We had worked together on the college newspaper, The Pine Log.

As a member of the college newspaper staff, he had been the Editor and I had been a Copy Editor. Directing his life with the poem’s philosophy, Robert McCullough absolutely achieved high levels of success. Thank you, Robert! Without knowing it, you gave me a focus and a plan for life.

When I first read this poem, I realized that luck in life depends on what you put into it. It is truly amazing that one small gift can make such an appreciated difference!


Desiderata – Words for Life

Go placidly amid the noise and 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 the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and 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 with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.



The meaning of the poem’s title…Desiderata are the things considered necessary or highly desirable. The poet is listing things that possibly could be desirable in life!



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