You have to go your own way - Charles Bukowski's

I regularly come across works by poets and philosophers about how dedication to a cause is crucial to whether or not one will achieve goals. In some works, the message is easy to understand; in others, it is more hidden and only becomes apparent upon closer inspection.

Henry Charles Bukowski was a German-American writer who focused mainly on prose and poetry. One of his most famous poems is "Go all the way". He is known to have worn his heart rather on his tongue, but nevertheless this poem is worth a closer look.

First, I will translate the poem into German and then explain the meaning of the poem and my own opinion about it.

Bukowski's "Go All The Way"

If you try, go all the way otherwise don't even start.
If you try, go all the way.

That can mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives, jobs, and possibly your sanity.

Go all the way.
It could mean not eating for three or four days.
It could mean freezing on a park bench.
It could mean prison.
It could mean mockery.
It could mean isolation.

Isolation is a gift.
Everything else is a test of your endurance of how bad you really want it.

And you will do it, despite rejection and the worst odds, and it will be better than anything else you can imagine.

If you try, go all the way.

There is no other feeling like this.
You will be alone with the gods and the nights will burn with flames.

All the way.
All the way.

You'll ride life straight to the perfect laugh.
It is the only good fight there is.

-Henry Charles Bukowski

The meaning of this Charles Bukowski poem

Charles Bukowski wants to say with this poem that one should not even try something if one does not intend to finish it. When you try something you should be willing to give up everything for it. It must be clear to you that the path will not be an easy one, but one that will pay off.

You have to be prepared for losses if you want to try something with full passion. After all, it is already in the word itself that it creates suffering.

It will mean isolation, because if you really want to master something you need a lot of time alone to get it done. But it will be a time in which you can achieve a lot. It will show how much you want it.

Because in the end, the feeling that you tried with all your might will be greater than the regret of not having made it. Whereby it must be said that the probability of making it, if you approach the matter with all your heart and soul, will also be greater. However, it is never certain whether you will make it, but that should not stop you from trying.

The meaning behind Charles Bukowski's poem

I personally find it a very motivating poem. I also think that if you really want to become great at something, you have to go all the way. Personally, I have never found a passion that I would be so eager to pursue. However, if I do find such a passion, I am sure I will go all the way and not just try.

Of course, some statements from the poem can be seen as too extreme, but I don't believe that truly great scientists or athletes would have achieved what they have with two hours of work a day.

In the Star Wars movies, for example, there is a famous scene where Yoda says to Luke, "Do it or don't do it. There is no try." I think the essence of Yoda's statement is the same as that of Charles Bukowski's poem.

So if you dare to do something new today, go all the way.

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