Still good advice, even after 100 years

March 5, 2024

Back when I was maybe a teen, the Desiderata regained popularity. Although it was written in 1927 by Max Ehrmann, its pithy wisdom and good advice fit the vibe of the 1960s.

Scrolling through social media this morning I ran across posts by a Facebook friend who is constantly envious of those who have more. I wanted to send her the Desiderata line “If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.”

But comparison is common on social media, as we look at the carefully curated lives of others.

When I re-read the entire Desiderata I realized how it’s still so relevant today, nearly 100 years later. So let me share it as my New Year’s gift to you:

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.

Still relevant, isn’t it? I’m going to keep its sage advice close at hand this year. And consider its good advice my new year’s gift to you. I hope 2024 brings you only good things.

Thanks for riding along with me here. And don’t forget:

My shop offers some of the most useful condolence gifts available. See them and my other tools here. 

6 comments on “Still good advice, even after 100 years
  1. Beth havey says:

    Thanks for reminding me of these attitudes and choices we need to take as a society.

  2. Laurie Stone says:

    Wow. How beautiful. Loved it then and especially love and need it now.

  3. Alana says:

    I certainly remember it from the 60’s and early 70’s. All the posters – still so relevant.

  4. Carol, I just added a link to your store in my blog post about how to help a grieving friend. Check it out here…

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