desiderata – by max ehrmann

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 to 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 and 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 perennial as the grass.

Take kindly to 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 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.

Max Ehrmann c.1920


6 thoughts on “desiderata – by max ehrmann

    • I’ve always liked this poem as good advice for life. I still like it. I also enjoy Mark Twain’s writings, but where he was with God, I don’t know. I just enjoy the poem. I hope others do too.

      • There are and have been many people who didn’t have any relationship with God, but somewhere in the Psalms it says that a man who says there is no god is a fool. That’s why April 1 is the religious holiday of the Aetheists. Admittedly, this guy didn’t say that, so I guess we can agree he has given some wise advice.

        I don’t know where Mark Twain was with God either, but I am not aware of him ever saying there is no god. I think he leaned more toward God than away.


      • He didn’t say there is no God. He said be at peace with God ….. He added “whatever you conceive him to be” to not get into religious arguments. That’s how I read it anyway. There is nothing in the piece to suggest he is coming from an atheistic perspective

  1. In my last comment I acknowledged that he didn’t say there is no god, so I guess we ara in agreement, as usual. In my first comment, I only meant to point out that he has no personal relationship with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.


  2. From what he has written down, one can presume he is a “good person”.
    That is enough for El-Shaddai to cast a blessing.
    If you cannot believe this then read my blog:

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