I saw this poem on the wall of a Brighton coffee shop, and thought it was really great and had useful advice for business leaders and teams. Poetry isn’t the usual place to go for advice for work and business but I'll take inspiration where I find it! Written by Max Ehrmann in 1927, it is still relevant. Modern life is full of pressure, add to this the stress and anxiety of running a business and it is no wonder that most people struggle sometimes. Adopting these simple life rules will help you stay motivated and feel calmer. I love the last bit especially.
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.
Max Ehrmann, 1927
At School of the Wild, we bring leaders and teams outside to help you reconnect and think differently, so that you are inspired to change the way you work.
We incorporate activities like making fires, creating a team symbol from found forest materials, and connecting with nature as part of creating space for meaningful conversations that build belonging and align your workforce with your values. Have a look at our outdoor team building and offsite programmes or get in touch for more information.
Author & Curator
Nigel Berman is the founder of School of the Wild.