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  • Writer's pictureJeff Eaker

The if in Life.

If you can keep your head

when all about you

Are losing theirs and

blaming it on you…

There’s an if in life. You can see it right there between the L and the e. It’s sort of like the middle finger in Life. If is fickle. Sometimes it’s there to encourage you: “If you work hard, you will be rewarded.” And other times it’s there to scare you: “If you don’t follow the rules, there will be consequences.”

If you can trust yourself

when all men doubt you,

But make allowance for

their doubting too.

If can be your best friend or your worst enemy. It just depends on what kind of mood if is in that day. On some days, if will be about endless opportunity and on others it’s there to keep you down. If has a mind of its own and it doesn’t care what you think about it. If is kind of a dick sometimes.

If you can meet with

Triumph and Disaster

And treat those two impostors

just the same…

In advertising, the if is often proceeded by a what. As in, “What if we ignore everything the client told us and do something that will actually move the needle.” This is usually followed up very quickly by, “If we do that, we’ll all be fired.” Which is followed up six months later by, “I wonder if it would’ve worked?” This is a question that is never answered because the client fired you anyway.

If you can make one heap

of all your winnings

And risk it on one turn

of pitch-and-toss.

If likes to the roll the dice. If you’re not into rolling dice, then you shouldn’t mess around with this particular brand of if too much. This if results in saying things like, “Grab the three things that matter most to you and let’s move to Delaware. I quit my job to open a pizza restaurant that serves cold pizza for breakfast. I think I can make a living as a professional blackjack player.”

This if can be stupid and reckless. This if can send you south in a hurry. Proceed with caution whenever this if arrives. But never turn your back on it completely. If you do, you might miss out.

If you can force your

heart and nerve and sinew

To serve your turn long

after they are gone…

When you’re lost in life, if is sometimes the only hope you’ve got. “If I can get through this, things will be better. If I can change my ways, she’ll love me again. If I can just get a minute to think, I’ll figure a way out of this mess.” This if is not to be ignored. This if is trying to help. If you want to turn things around, you should listen to it. If you don’t, things rarely change on their own.

If you can talk with crowds

and keep your virtue,

Or walk with Kings—

nor lose the common touch.

Sometimes we use if in our defense. As in, “If it weren’t for the advertising no one would know who the hell you are, what you sell and why it’s better than everyone else.” And sometimes if is our downfall. “If we sell the agency to a holding company, we’ll finally have the cash on hand to hire the people we need.” This is soon followed by, “If we don’t make the cuts the holding company is asking for, I won’t be able to buy the ski lodge in Telluride.”

If you can fill the

unforgiving minute With sixty seconds’

worth of distance run—

Personally, I like if. If is a dreamer. And an underdog. Just two little letters leaning up against each other for support. It’s a small word with big ideas. There’re a lot of possibilities in those two little letters. They sneak into places together. They like to surprise people. Sometimes they like to blow shit up. If is unpredictable. But if you can make if your friend, it can be the best one you ever have.

Yours is the Earth

and everything that’s in it, And—which is more—

you’ll be a Man, my son!

Thanks for reading. I'll see you again real soon.

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