Which Are You?

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

I read this poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox while reading John Maxwell’s book, “Winning with People.” I am learning that life is all about questions. The greatest people understand and leverage the power of questions. Questions should be used daily as a means to get answers, find needs, fix problems, and move forward. The ability to ask the right questions of others and oneself is paramount to moving from good to great. This poem asks a very poignant question that requires serious introspection; that’s why I love it!

Which are You?

There are two kinds of people on earth to-day;
Just two kinds of people, no more, I say.

Not the sinner and saint, for it’s well understood,
The good are half bad, and the bad are half good.

Not the rich and the poor, for to rate a man’s wealth,
You must first know the state of his conscience and health.

Not the humble and proud, for in life’s little span,
Who puts on vain airs, is not counted a man.

Not the happy and sad, for the swift flying years
Bring each man his laughter and each man his tears.

No; the two kinds of people on earth I mean,
Are the people who lift, and the people who lean.

Wherever you go, you will find the earth’s masses,
Are always divided in just these two classes.

And oddly enough, you will find too, I ween,
There’s only one lifter to twenty who lean.

In which class are you? Are you easing the load,
Of overtaxed lifters, who toil down the road?

Or are you a leaner, who lets others share
Your portion of labor, and worry and care?

Ella Wheeler Wilcox
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