The Man in the Arena

The Man in the Arena

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again,

because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause;

who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

Theodore Roosevelt, excerpt from Citizenship in a Republic

I’ve been listening on Audible recently to Brene Brown’s book The Power of Vulnerability (if you haven’t come across Brene yet do go and seek her out, she has a lot of wonderful things to say) and it reminded me how much I love this quote from Theodore Roosevelt.

Some days it can feel like I really should just give up: my work, my passions, my relationships, my house. Things fail, it seems so hard and so not rewarding and I wonder why I bother. But these experiences, in the same way as good experiences, are just a reminder that you are alive, that you tried something and entered the arena and got your hands dirty. If you are to do anything worth doing in your life you are going to fail, but failure isn’t the end. You’ve got to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and carry on anyway. And as Roosevelt says, “It is not the critic who counts”… turn away from the critics that point at you, who tell you what you should have done instead or how they could have done better: the fact that you did it in the first place is the only thing you need to know to be confident in yourself.

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