Hello Misfit Nation! Welcome to another edition of "Lessons for Hannah!"
In November of 2016, we introduced a new format that we are putting alongside our regular episodes called “Lessons for Hannah.” Hannah is my daughter and one of the main inspirations for the Misfit Entrepreneur. I wanted to have a place where she could go and learn from her daddy and his Misfit friends throughout her life….even after I am gone. If you haven’t listened to the first episode of "Lessons for Hannah," I urge you to as it gives some more background and tells the amazing story of how Hannah came to be in our lives.
"Lessons for Hannah" are short, very useful, and sometimes comical lessons, that I have learned which I want to share with you and give to Hannah to help in your lives. Because I want Hannah to have these for her life, I’m going to speak as though I am talking directly to her. These episodes are a lot of fun and if you think there is a lesson that we should include in these episodes, please don’t hesitate to send it over to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to share it.
This week’s Lesson for Hannah
I want to talk to you about a very famous poem, IF, by Rudyard Kipling. You may have noticed that I have a canvas of this on my wall in my office. Today, I’m going to tell you why. But, in order to do that, first, I need to read you the poem.
You can view it here: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/46473/if---
After hearing it, you probably have some idea why I think it is important. It gives some of the best time-tested advice and lessons for life. Now, when it was written, it was written by Rudyard giving advice to his son, but the advice is equally as important to a daughter, a friend, a family member, and of course, you sweetie. Let me explain going through each of the 4 stanzas.
The first stanza says…
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:
What this says to me is that you must believe in yourself and walk your own path doing what is right. You must keep your head when all about you are losing theirs – so think logically and methodically in your actions and don’t follow the herd or lemmings over the cliff. Trust yourself when others doubt you, but at the same time, take the time to understand why they doubt you and ask yourself whether it is valid or not. In other words, believe in yourself, but don’t follow blind ambition or lose your humility in the process. Lastly, if you can wait and not be tired of waiting or being lied about, but don’t deal in lies or being hated – don’t give into hating, yet don’t look to good nor talk to wise. This is great life advice, have patience for what you want, know that others may lie about you, but you must not fall to their level and deal in lies, and don’t flaunt your looks or try to be the smartest person in the room all the time – even if you are. Let others have a chance.
The next stanza says…
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:
This gives 3 very important lessons. First, dream and think, but realize that dreams and reality are not always going to be the same. Second, understand that you will have great successes and failures in life and there are amazing lessons and gifts in each of them – so treat them the same and learn from them. Third, know that things you put a tremendous amount of time and effort into may not always workout or be destroyed – be ok with that and be strong enough to rebuild in the face of it.
The 3rd stanza says…
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!’
This is one of my most favorite messages in this poem – you must be willing to persevere. You must be willing to take risks and deal with the consequences of them, good or bad. You must never quit and always be willing to start again, and above all else persevere and hold on!
The 4th stanza says…
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!
More very sage advice. To me this is all about remaining true to yourself and who you are. Talking to crowds and keeping your virtue and walking with kings, but not lose your common touch. Hannah, don’t change who you are for the audience in front of you. Be who you are and let it shine through. And the last part of the poem tells us to seize each moment and make the best out of it and that if you do all of this, yours is the earth and everything in it.
It is amazing how much wonderful wisdom can be packed into such a short little group of words…and that is maybe the last lesson for me. The lesson that a small amount of anything can make such a huge difference. A small amount of extra effort can be the difference between winning and losing a race. A small amount of ingenuity can be the difference between inventing the solution and missing it forever. A small amount of perseverance can take you to levels no one ever thought possible.
Hannah, I hope you can use the lessons of IF and the power of small things to help you in your life the way they have helped me. Yours is the earth and everything in it.
I love you, Daddy
Best Quote: “A small amount of anything can make such a huge difference. A small amount of extra effort can be the difference between winning and losing a race. A small amount of ingenuity can be the difference between inventing the solution and missing it forever. A small amount of perseverance can take you to levels no one ever thought possible"