the man who thinks he can

I received a gift from my best friend in grade six when I moved away. It was a wall hanging with this poem on it. Although the plaque indicates an anonymous author, some sources attribute it to a man named Walter D. Wintle.

In the months that followed my move, I memorized this poem. It was not hard to do, considering I had it hanging in my bedroom, and I spent a good chunk of time alone staring at the walls.

When I think about it now, I’m overwhelmed with how this reflects my life. It is something I want to pass on to my children, and it is a voice of encouragement that follows me through every journey I take. Sometimes the concepts seem obvious, but when they are most needed in life. When I have been tired, afraid, weak, alone, that is when they became most profound. And when I see my children struggle with deficiencies and weakness, I want to pack these encouraging words into a box and hand them to them.

The Man Who Thinks He Can

If you think you are beaten, you are;
If you think you dare not, you don’t.
If you’d like to win, but think you can’t,
It’s almost a cinch you won’t.

If you think you’ll lose, you’re lost,
For out in the world we find
Success begins with a fellows will;
It’s all in the state of mind.

If you think you’re outclassed, you are;
You’ve got to think high to rise.
You’ve got to be sure of yourself before
You can ever win a prize.

Life’s battles don’t always go
To the stronger or faster man;
But soon or late the man who wins
Is the one who thinks he can.


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