19 Responses

  1. Amy Russell
    Amy Russell Published |

    Well, Justin if it gets too hard dear brother- remember me. You know all things that are going on in my life along with 2 jobs, and school. Don’t you ever settle. Life is too damn good to JUST SETTLE. “Reach for the moon at least you’ll land among the stars.” keep that quote in mind and live by it! We all make mistakes at some point in our lives, I’ve made many – you haven’t even begun. Quit being afraid of the unknown. The unknown is our motivation. Not knowing what tomorrow may bring allows us to wish, dream, and believe that no matter what.. each day will be better than the last.

  2. Justin Tadlock
    Justin Tadlock at |
  3. Kelly Cat's favorite human
    Kelly Cat's favorite human Published |

    Where you grew up and wanting to escape it… I can understand that. ( See http://www.whatagoodcat.com/blog/2006/10/02/348/ ) Looking back after having done it, I can tell you I believe you’re on the right road.

    Here’s unsolicited advice from a happy AARP-eligible man with a happy home (anyway, here’s what worked for me): (1) If you find the right person to share your life with, you are better off than most of the world. Don’t just look for the right person. Make yourself the kind of person that the right person would look for. (2) If you don’t find the right person right away, don’t settle for less — it’s better to want what you don’t have than have what you don’t want.

  4. don field
    don field Published |


  5. jason
    jason Published |

    don’t worry man, you’re not the only one who is lost and talking about lazy, i’m in uni an only working to get by not to get a good mark. i know it’s bad, and for numerous time i have tried to set goal and motivate myself, but every time i ended up in square one again. right now i don’t even want to do anything but stay in my room and chilling with my computer. sad life huh? i guess that what happen when one have no motivation to do anything. it’s been like what 2 years now, so i do hope you find your ways because at some point finding our ways is only what one can hope for especially those who is having a tough time realizing what life has to offer and what should one do.

  6. pat morgan
    pat morgan Published |

    I came to this site when I googled “the captain of my ….” in order to find your favorite quote. I did it because of a friend that is rather lost at the end of his career still looking for affirmation. My guess is that this is part of his credo too, and I don’t think he or you could be farther off target. Probably your favorite song is “I Did It My Way” by Frank Sinatra. Frank’s “way” and Henley’s captainship were what they were because they were orchestrated so by God. You are NOT the master of your fate. That’s not to say you’re a pawn. You have free will and you have responsiblity. But if you do what you do for God’s approval instead of man’s you’ll be far more fulfilled. And God’s approval is quite easy to have and enjoyalble to persue. Good luck.

  7. Cédric Lavarde
    Cédric Lavarde Published |

    Hi Justin,

    We don’t know each other, I’m far from you, but it doesn’t change the fact that I do feel the same way you’re doing.

    I guess we’re all on a quest, but a quest for what?
    Maybe just to know who we are.It’s the most important in a human life.Maybe the only thing that matters at all.

    I find myself struggling with relationships with others, family, friends, and even the closest don’t understand, the feeling of emptyness you can feel when you’re trying to look on your future, and don’t see anything but a black hole.
    I guess the only way to get through this, is not to let yourself absorbed by these questions.It’s when you stop searching something that you find it.

    I try to do it since a long time now, but I guess I’m not trying hard enough..

    I hope you got through and found your way..


    PS:Sorry if my english is not perfectly correct, i’m french…

  8. Hajar El Alaoui
    Hajar El Alaoui Published |

    Hi Justine
    We don’ t know each other at all. I’ ve been looking for the whole peome this morning when I found out your article.
    well to be honest, things were not going as I expected and wanted lately; yet, they are just the oppisite of what I imagined and dreamed of and looked after.
    It is the first time that I don’t find words to express myself, or even to write as usually in my journal.While I’ve been reading your article I felt like you said everything with great explanation and right words’ choices.
    I read it three time and I thank you for that because I think also that it refers to a lot of people.I now can explan my feelings to my parents,my boyfriend, and also my friends. Because for real, I didn’t find any logic connection between things that are blowing everywhere inside my head.
    Sometimes, I cry,praying god to just stop what is happening and just let me understand what’s wrong with me, but I couldn’t get to do that until I read your article.
    It means a lot to me,it is a whole new light, vision, maybe hope. I am in a situation where I lost everything even myself, and I feel such horrible emtyness,laziness and self-depression.
    I had billion questions with no answers,I had problems creating others…the worse I didn’t know how to think, what to do, from where to start, how that happened,…
    Now that I got a really motivited article that explans a big a part of my lost, I will start over. At least I know now from where to start.
    Thank you very much and you are such a great writer ( I liked your writing style also).

  9. Hannah
    Hannah Published |

    Hi, Justin Tadlock
    I know the feeling of being lost in your life, because that’s the thing I experienced in my life before I accepted Jesue Christ. My life was dark and I didn’t know the meaning of my life. I felt lost. But When I found God in my life, I found Light. The Light is God. I’m not confused any more, because I know that God is my leader and my guide. He can tell me what to do and He can protect me from anything destructive. The poem Invictus totally, completely drags you away from God. It deceives you. It said I’m the master of my fate; I’m the captain of my soul. But think about this: Do you really truthly believe that? You even don’t know what will happen tomorrow to you? Then how can you master your fate and how can you sail in the ocean. I’m praying for you. Hope one day you also can find God in your life and never be lost.

  10. Patrick
    Patrick Published |

    Hi Justin, along with most people, I was searching for the invictus poem as I felt inspired by the last two lines of the poem: “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul”. I realise this response is two years after your article was written and I hope that you have found your way. Your first line had captured my attention immediately, “I’ve been lazy”. I want to say that at this moment, I am nothing more than those words. You are absolutely right in stating that self-motivation is the key to conquer anything, yet it does not replace doing for oneself. After reading your article and all the comments above, I no longer feel alone. I thank you for writing this article, for without it, I would not have found my new strength. From now on, I will live my life with no regret.


  11. Patrick Ardahalian
    Patrick Ardahalian Published |

    Justin, it seems that you know what you need to do.
    Now it’s just a matter of doing it!
    Remember that some people fear success because it means that they will lose any excuse for others to feel sorry for them.
    Having people pity you is a nice feeling, but it has no substance. Just pretend that there is nobody in the world, but you. what would you do? who will you depend upon? Who can you turn to?
    Of course friends are nice to have, really good friends are rare and precious.
    I suggest you do all the things you say you will do, and then create your own social support system. Get online, join a group, meet people of substance, make new friends.
    You can even chat with me, a total stranger. That might help you.
    But remember one thing, NEVER GIVE UP, NEVER SURRENDER. that is one American trait that I will keep until the end of time. That is what makes America a truly great nation, (minus the George dubya’s 🙂

    Take it easy man, and remember to smile once in a while because there are many other people who feel like you do, you are not alone in your misery nor your sadness.

    Promise me one thing; when you regain your strength, when you find your bearings, when you are back on your feet please seek out others who were weak, like you once were and help them out.
    That will give you true satisfaction, trust me. You can even voluteer your time somewhere doing something constructive.

    FYI my email Patrick Ardahalian @ hotmail . com (all one word – I separated it so stupid online bots don’t spam me)

    Peace out

  12. Peter
    Peter Published |


    I came upon your blog while looking for Henley’s Invictus. As others, I was quite impressed by Henley’s eloquence, especially given the trials he experienced, but his poem didn’t quite do it for me (too negative and dark) so I wrote my own. In case you’re interested, here it is:

    Victus (after Invictus by William Ernest Henley)

    Out of the night that covered me,
    beyond the pit that claimed me whole,
    I thank The God who lives eternally
    that He has freed my conquered soul.

    Beneath fell weight of God’s just vow,
    my heart in fearful torment fled;
    but He bore my curse upon His brow.
    I am reclaimed, for me He bled!

    Beyond this place of wrath and tears
    loomed death; the horror of the shade.
    Thank God He carried all my fears!
    In His love I am unafraid.

    It matters not how strait His gate,
    how charged with punishments His scroll;
    His love has saved me from my fate;
    He is redeemer of my soul.

  13. Judith
    Judith Published |

    It’s 2010 now so.. how is your motivation so far?? being a captain?
    being lazy? still in Korea? how was your spring brake??

  14. Tony
    Tony Published |

    Like some other posters I came across this link searching for the origin of ‘I am the captain of my soul’ after watching Clint Eastwood’s movie Invictus. This phrase has been flashing in and out of my mind for more years than I can or care to recall. As well, is the phrase out of the Runyard Kipling’s poem IF “you will be a man my son” – the full text reads as follows –


    If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
    If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;
    If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
    Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

    If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
    If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
    If you can meet with triumph and disaster
    And treat those two imposters just the same;
    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 wornout tools;

    If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
    And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breath a word about your loss;
    If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,
    And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;

    If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
    Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch;
    If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
    If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run –
    Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
    And – which is more – you’ll be a Man my son!

    Back on topic which I take to be the original poster’s deprecating himself for lack of motivation/energy/purpose/meaning etc.

    While I cannot be certain I daresay these feelings are by no means unique and probably very common among many individuals who are not satiated nor satisfied by physical and material pursuits and gatherings of every type imagineable.

    It seems to me that we all meander through various stages of our life seeking answers to the unanswerable and so a goodly proportion of the planet’s population live their lives based on religious dogma and philosophies on the promise of rewards based eternal afterlife worshipping an imaginary creator.

    While I try not to make judgment calls on other people’s beliefs, these beliefs have never seemed logical to me and verge on or even exceed self-delusion.

    Like all living things, man (which term includes woman) is a relatively complicated organism struggling to maintain his/her existence in the course of which learns the unequivocal truth that at the time of birth they are doomed to die by any number of means – natural or unnatural.

    In between birth and death, we need to do something with our lives and thus, by and large emulate those we find in our immediate environment whether by design or influence of family, peers or the establishment.

    Fortunate and few are those who find something to fill in the gap with something that they highly enjoy and well remunerated in either a fiduciary or emotional sense. The rest of us merely live our lives pragmatically, mundanely,routinely and vicarously.

    That’s enough of my meanderings – I’m starting to feel sleepy and am off to bed – if I may, I would like to leave you with two simple things I’ve followed throughout my life of some 7 decades thus far – Love the one you’re with and love the work you do – otherwise you’re gonna be a miserable SOB.

  15. Bichara
    Bichara Published |


    It’s my first visit to this blog and to pumb on this interresting topic. Analysing and decrypting a poem is not an easier task. However, I am sturned to see all of those poeple who search and find some relations or connections between writing/saying of great minds and their own religions(all of them). Frankly speaking, there are any divine signification on the perfect sentence: “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul”. On the same order of idea, according to some religious, the wine, in “quatrains” of the great persian poet Omar Khayam, has another sense.

    I don’t know why we refuse to take the simplest sense or interpretation like says Occam’s razor?????

    Thanks for Justin for this amazing analysis. I’m the master of my fate, I’m the capatain of my soul.

  16. Robbie
    Robbie Published |

    After watching the movie invictus,i googled the words “im captain of my soul” then came across this article,its the writing style that kept me gruelled to the article. I passed through that stage when i was stil in college,i felt empty and meaningless in life,wasted most of my time playing PC games and watching movies (no wonder i support the ideal of attaching a sticker on computers and TV “Endangers social life”),luckly enough i finished college,got a job @ big 4 audit firm,then i realised that the major thing i lacked in my life was action,going forwad and facing the real world not the artificial world we have created. Follow the old advice,”get your hands dirty” get in shape,go to church,talk to people not on facebook and skype but real people at the restaurant,in a bus,make new friends,chase girls not on flirt.com but in the streets.It all depends on your decision,your the captain of your soul.Peace

  17. Pia Connors
    Pia Connors Published |

    The following was written by Orson F. Whitney, elder and apostle of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

    Elder Orson F. Whitney replied with these lines:

    Art thou in truth? Then what of him
    Who bought thee with his blood?
    Who plunged into devouring seas
    And snatched thee from the flood?
    Who bore for all our fallen race
    What none but him could bear.—
    The God who died that man might live,
    And endless glory share?
    Of what avail thy vaunted strength,
    Apart from his vast might?
    Pray that his Light may pierce the gloom,
    That thou mayest see aright.
    Men are as bubbles on the wave,
    As leaves upon the tree.
    Thou, captain of thy soul, forsooth!
    Who gave that place to thee?
    Free will is thine—free agency,
    To wield for right or wrong;
    But thou must answer unto him
    To whom all souls belong.
    Bend to the dust that head “unbowed,”
    Small part of Life’s great whole!
    And see in him, and him alone,
    The Captain of thy soul.

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