What is the summary of the poem, "If", by Rudyard Kipling?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Rudyard Kipling's popular poem, "If," details specific traits necessary to become a good leader, a good man, and a wise person. The first stanza is concerned with the dealing of conceit and righteousness, suggesting that men "don't look too good, nor talk too wise." The second stanza warns about the realities of life, to "... not make dreams your master; / ... and not make thoughts your aim." The third stanza advises the reader about the complex decisions a man must make during his life. In the fourth stanza, Kipling discusses the importance of not losing "the common touch" with fellow man, and to fill each minute of every day with "sixty seconds' worth of distance run."

These guidelines, if followed, according to Kipling, will make you "a Man, my son!"