The Things That Do Attain

A simple life is challenging to find.

Cover photo: @jerrysilfwer

Ah, the things that do attain.

Late one night, I shared a bottle of Żubrówka with a dear 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.”

And like it, I did.

It became my favour­ite poem:

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.”

— Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey

Such a sens­ible path to wander!

Happiness by way of the quiet mind, as it stands, might be the most ambi­tious of quests!

Simple, yet so elu­sive and chal­len­ging to attain.

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

Please sup­port my blog by shar­ing it with oth­er PR- and com­mu­nic­a­tion pro­fes­sion­als. For ques­tions or PR sup­port, con­tact me via jerry@​spinfactory.​com.

PR Resource: The Stoic PR Professional

The Stoic PR Professional

I’m fas­cin­ated by Stoicism and I’m inspired by the idea of trans­lat­ing clas­sic­al Stoic vir­tues (wis­dom, cour­age, justice, tem­per­ance) and apply­ing them to pub­lic relations:

The Wisdom Pitch

A Stoic is someone who trans­forms fear into prudence, pain into trans­form­a­tion, mis­takes into ini­ti­ation, and desires into under­tak­ing.”
— Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Tell PR stor­ies of how organ­isa­tions can be wise and over­come obstacles that have stopped oth­ers in their tracks. Convey PR mes­sages of how to apply wis­dom, know­ledge, and experience.

The Courage Pitch

We can­not choose our cir­cum­stances, but we can always choose how we respond to them.”
— Epictetus

Tell PR stor­ies of brands that nev­er back down in the face of hard­ships that would lay waste to oth­er organ­isa­tions. Convey PR mes­sages of how an organ­isa­tion can be right­eous even when storms are raging.

The Justice Pitch

Concentrate every minute on doing what’s in front of you with pre­cise and genu­ine ser­i­ous­ness, ten­derly, will­ingly, with justice.”
— Marcus Aurelius

Tell PR stor­ies of how organ­isa­tions relent­lessly can strive for hon­esty and trans­par­ency — even when uncom­fort­able. Convey PR mes­sages of how all brands, without excep­tion, can rid them­selves of dis­hon­esty and incompetence.

The Temperance Pitch

It’s not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, who is poor.”
— Seneca

Tell PR stor­ies of organ­isa­tions that strive for high­er val­ues in a world where all oth­er organ­isa­tions suf­fer short­sighted­ness. Convey PR mes­sages of organ­isa­tions pre­pared to abstain from short-term gains to make the world bet­ter for all.

Learn more: Stoic Philosophy for PR Professionals

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Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwer, alias 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.

The Cover Photo

The cover photo has nothing to do with public relations, of course. I share for no other reason that I happen to enjoy photography. Call it an “ornamental distraction”—and a subtle reminder to appreciate nature.

The cover photo has


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