“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 and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, 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 he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt
Long quote today, I know, but Teddy could really drive a point home, eh? I mostly love this quote because it was sent to me by my Mom on 2 separate occasions. She picked perfect times to drop it on me, and I am grateful for it. So, aside from its actual meaning, it holds value to me simply considering the source.
My 2 year old son entered daycare a couple months back, and while he has mostly enjoyed the experience, he has picked up some bad habits. Namely, he has added some phrases to his young vernacular that I absolutely can’t stand. The first, “I can’t do it.” The second, “I give up.” I know he hasn’t heard phrases like that at home because Amber and I make it a point to empower him to believe that he can do whatever he works toward. What he can’t understand right now is that mentalities like this can shape you. They can consume you. They can create your perspective and attitude and bring you down. President Roosevelt relates that those bystanders who critique without actually employing effort are those that should receive no accolades. The person that tries, regardless of outcome, already has an advantage over those who choose to stand idly.
“…there is no effort without error and shortcomings.”
“…if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly.”
“…his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
Roosevelt packed so many perfect phrases into this one paragraph. I can assure you that the phrases “I can’t do it” and “I give up” were completely foreign to him. Granted, we’re not all going to be Roosevelt; you know, holding down the US Presidency and hunting rhinos. But, we can all be great in our own way. We can try to be great. We can “strive valiantly.”
Have an awesome Tuesday,