All In the State of Mind

This is a poem that I had to memorize as a plebe at the United States Naval Academy. I share it with you – BUT – it was back when the Naval Academy was an all-male institution.

That is the case no longer.

I have tried to make the poem more gender-neutral, but when I do that, it just doesn’t rhyme.

So I ask that you understand that the poem applies to all – and feel its power since it applies to you.

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All In the State of Mind


If you think you are beaten, you are;

If you think you dare not, you don’t.

If you would like to win, but don’t think you can,

It’s almost a cinch you won’t!

If you think you’ll lose, you’re lost,

For out in the world you find –

Success begins with a fellow’s will;

It’s all in the state of mind.

 Full many a race is lost

Ere ever a step is run;

And many a coward fails

Ere even his work has begun.

Think big and your deeds will grow,

Think small and you’ll fall behind,

Think that you can and you will!

It’s all in the state of mind.

If you think you’re outclassed, you are;

You’ve got to think high to rise.

You’ve got to be sure of yourself before

You ever can win a prize.

Life’s battles don’t always go

To the stronger or faster man,

But sooner or later, the man who wins,

Is the fellow who thinks he can!