reminder to self (Desiderata)

reminder to self (Desiderata)

Amazing how much wisdom is contained in the Desiderata – a 1927 prose poem by American writer Max Ehrmann (1872–1945). My Mum had it on the back of our toilet door 😉

I am putting it on my blog so I don’t forget these tips on how to be happy.


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 or 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.

27 thoughts on “reminder to self (Desiderata)

    1. Haha – thanks tipota – when I went to school lots of kids brought guitars with them and played at lunchtime (and on camps etc.,) – it was all very hippy chill (and pretty daggy really) back in those days but a lot of fun – singing and music is very relaxing.

    1. Yes, Adeeyoyo, I used to sing it to the melody that I linked in my comment to slpmartin (minus the talking bit) – it was one of those songs we all sang at school (not all the words – just part of the poem – I particularly remember the 3rd stanza, which may have been the chorus).

    1. they are fine words graham – and for some reason I thought the Desiderata was written much further back in history (didn’t know much about it, except the words and song, until I googled)

  1. Thanks for this, Gabrielle. “Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others/
    even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.” These particular words have a lot of meaning for me at the moment. Thanks again.

  2. I remember encountering this for the first time as a schoolboy in the very early 70’s. I thought that it was quite possibly the wisest thing that I would ever hear. Here we are – 40 years on: I haven’t altered that opinion. By and large I try to live by it.

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