How can I paraphrase the second stanza of "If" by Rudyard Kipling?

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dneshan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The first line of the poem: “If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;” means that people should not let their dreams control their lives, but should be in charge of their own destinies.

The second line, “If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim,” translates to mean close to the same as the first line – which is to let things happen as they will and not try to overthink anything.

The third and fourth lines, “If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster / And treat those two impostors just the same”, means that we should not let victories make us feel invincible nor should we let negative events ruin or upset us.

The final four lines:

     “If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken

      Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

      Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,

      And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools.”

Are telling the reader that we can not allow ourselves to be changed by what others say nor can we allow others to get the best of us.