A Psalm of Life – Longfellow

longfellow

I have a list of inspiring songs and poems that I listen to or read when I’m feeling down or depressed and this is one of them. It’s a very didactic (preachy) one and though I normally don’t prefer preachy stuff, at times, in life, you need some advice 🙂 😉

American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow gives the message that we shouldn’t waste our life by considering it as futile, because every life has a higher meaning and goal apart from death – “Life is real! Life is earnest! And the grave is not its goal”. He states that the pursuit of this goal should drive us in our lives, that we should never lose heart and give up when we meet with obstacles on our path.

I first came across these two inspiring verses, loved them, and then checked out the original poem:

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.

Modern day psychology research also supports Longfellow’s belief that one must have a higher goal in life and strive towards it. For example, Dr. Angela Duckworth, who’s a Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania has done some incredible research on the factors that predict success in life, and she came up with the result that “grit” is the most accurate predictor of success across fields. She defines “grit” as “passion and perseverance for long term goals”. According to her, its apparently much more important than IQ, talent, or any other variable. Also explains why it’s not necessarily the most talented or those with the highest IQ, who end up achieving the most success.

To develop “grit”, it’s very important to find out what you’re really passionate about, or at least choose the option that you’re most passionate about among those that are available. Knowing what you’re passionate about and having a higher long term goal is extremely important 🙂

Here’s the entire poem:

A Psalm of Life – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream!
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.

Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each to-morrow
Find us farther than to-day.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world’s broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife!

Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act,— act in the living Present!
Heart within, and God o’erhead!

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.

Quite simple and straightforward……..in the 4th para “Art is long, and Time is fleeting” – refers to the fact that the work we have to accomplish is huge, and that the time we have to finish it, is short.

Hope this poem inspires you as well! Have a Great Tuesday!! 🙂  🙂

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