TO 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
What a powerful statement Theodore Roosevelt made all those years ago back in 1910. What an enlightened man, although I do wonder if people had the same appreciation for his insight back then the way we do. I imagine that in the time that this speech was made there may have been very old-school views on this man the world calls Teddy (although he himself detested this name).
When you look at this inspirational man you can only imagine what an interesting fellow he must have been, and only wish that you could invite him for dinner and soak up his vulnerable and courageous presence. Theodore hated this nickname Teddy but many of us are unaware that the occassion during a hunting trip he went on in which he refused to shoot a bear was the birthplace of our modern day teddy bears, teddy bear picnics and much more, but I digress. A sickly child Teddy was home-schooled and went on to live a deeply layered, multi-faceted life. He was known as an explorer, naturalist, hunter, soldier and author – not just the 26th American President from 1901-1909. What a non-conformist life he led, never defined by one title for his entire life, and that I find extremely inspirational.
Theodore Roosevelt – Credit to Wikipedia
After looking at his life and history you can see that life experience and his own time ‘in the arena’, led hime to the great speeches now known throughout the world. Many had the same tone of being present, open, engaged, and ‘in the arena’ as his most famous piece. However I found another great speech he wrote such as ‘The Strenuous Life’ of which an extract is as follows;
“I wish to preach, not the doctrine of ignoble ease, but the doctrine of the strenuous life, the life of toil and effort, of labor and strife; to preach that highest form of success which comes, most to the man who desires mere easy peace, but to the man who does not shrink from danger, from hardship, or from bitter toil, and who out of these wins the splendid ultimate triumph”
“Above all, let us shrink from no strife, moral or physical, within or without the nation, provided we are certain that the strife is justified, for it is only through strife, through hard and dangerous endeavor, that we shall ultimately win the goal of true nation greatness”
So it appears as though his life’s goal was to always be wholeheartedly participating in life no matter what obstacles he may have had to face. His words were bursting with self belief, and the conviction of those beliefs.
The To The Man In The Arena excerpt has resonated a great deal with me because as I’m sure many of you would agree, it is easy to stand on our pedestals of our own comfort zone and feel as though we have the best view of what is going on in the arena, therefore knowing what the ‘real truth’ is. However your view from the pedestal does not give you the experience of being in that arena. A great truth of what jumps from this piece for me is that in my everyday life I will challenge myself to refrain from thoughts of jealousy, judgement and superiority about those in their own respective arenas, and focus more on my own arena getting my hands dirty doing what is best for my fight, my stand and my life – and where necessary, arming up and siding up to help someone in their arena.
If this is too deep for you and are not sure what its all about I suggest you get yourself a copy of Brene Browns book, Daring Greatly. I have a book club n at the moment on the My Infinite Balance facebook page on this book, and to be brutally honest I have had more A-HA moments than an Oprah Marathon! Come over and join in the conversation.
What do you think about the man in the arena?