Doctor SpinCreativityBrain FuelThe Things That Do Attain

The Things That Do Attain

The simple life is not so easy to find.

A simple life isn’t easily attainable.

Late one night, I shared a bottle of Polish vodka with a friend.

We talked about matters of great importance; life, meaning, and happiness—as one might do while getting experimentally intoxicated after a hard day’s work in the PR industry.

The next day, my friend sent me this email:

“My head hurts, but our conversation yesterday reminded me of this poem of Henry Howard,” he wrote. “I think you might like it.”

It became one of my favourite poems:

“My friend, the things that do attain
The happy life be these, I find:
The riches left, not got with pain,
The fruitful ground; the quiet mind;

The equal friend; no grudge, no strife;
No charge of rule nor governance;
Without disease the healthy life;
The household of continuance;

The mean diet, no dainty fare;
True wisdom joined with simpleness;
The night discharged of all care,
Where wine the wit may not oppress;

The faithful wife, without debate;
Such sleeps as may beguile the night:
Content thyself with thine estate,
Neither wish death, nor fear his might.”

The poem was partially used in this episode of The Tudors (and read very well):

Happiness by way of the quiet mind, as it stands, might just be the most ambitious of quests; so elusive and difficult to attain.

Such a sensible path to wander—especially for those of us who subscribe to a stoic philosophy of life.

Cover photo by Jerry Silfwer (Prints/Instagram)


Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwer, aka Doctor Spin, is an awarded senior adviser specialising in public relations and digital strategy. Currently CEO at KIX Index and Spin Factory. Before that, he worked at Kaufmann, Whispr Group, Springtime PR, and Spotlight PR. Based in Stockholm, Sweden.
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In 1996, Nick Cave submitted a petition to the MTV Video Music Awards demanding the video for his duet with Kylie Minogue be removed.
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