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Creating Work that Endures

Creating Work that Endures

We just might create something that enduresand survives uswithout ever knowing.

 

Work that Endures

Max Ehrmann was born in Terre Haute, IN in 1872. He lived there all his life, except for 4 years in Boston studying law and philosophy at Harvard.

 

In the early 1920s, he wrote a short piece of prose he called Desiderata, latin for Things Desired. He distributed it on Christmas cards and registered a US copyright in 1927.

 

Ehrmann died in Terre Haute in 1945 without seeing Desiderata published or distributed widely. He let the copyright expire.

 

Someone found and read Desiderata in the early 1960s though. And they printed it. And sold copies in poster form.

 

Les Crane, a radio announcer and TV talk show host, came across Desiderata. And he included it on a spoken word album he recorded in 1971.

 

Desiderata won the 1971 Grammy for “Best Spoken Word.”

 

Millions have since read it.

 

I think Ehrmann would be surprised to learn a copy of his Desiderata is hanging in my kitchen. Almost 100 years after he wrote it.

The Desiderata

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

Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious 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 in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

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