The Desiderata of Happiness

This poem came to me at the most perfect moment in my life.  Upon reading it for the first time this week, I thought, “Gosh, I wish I had seen this before!”

However, after reading it and rereading it, I now understand that I am reading it for the first time because this is the most perfect time for me to read it (Silver Lining).  That’s one of the things that is so great about this magnificent poem.

I hope that it gives you goosebumps the way it did for me!




Go placidly amid the noise and haste,

and remember what peace there may be in silence.


And 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 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 imagings.

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 confusions of life keep peace with your soul.


With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,

it is still a beautiful world.

Be cheerful.

Be happy.


– Max Ehrmann




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  1. says

    Thanks for the reminder of these remarkably still relevant words. I'm going to save to a word doc and post on my wall so I see these wonderful words every day.