The Man in the Arena
June 1, 2018
“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 & sweat & blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again & again, because there is no effort without error & shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds….who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, & who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold & timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” Theodore Roosevelt, “The Man in the Arena”.
From the moment I first read this quote during my incredible experience with @menwithoutmasks, it stirred emotion inside me. Perhaps it’s because my recent past is littered with moments of failure; despite the sweat & toil, the end results weren’t what I set out to achieve.
It’s the success stories that are most widely shared & consumed, the failures that almost always proceeded them are often ignored, untold & forgotten. When we experience failure we have two choices, to let it define us, or take our learnings & use them to our benefit in the next chapter of our life. I’m in that place, I’ve suffered setbacks, “failures” if you like, & at 36 I’m without the financial comforts my peers have deservedly created. But when I read this quote, I’m filled with a sense of pride & reminded to praise myself for stepping into the arena.
This is a shout out to all of those who aren’t yet where they want to be. You haven’t failed, it’s only half time, success is around the corner. I say that with one caveat, that you must keep valiantly trying. Get connected with a vision for where you want to be & commit that you’ll give yourself the best chance of succeeding. As you proceed with energy and effort, remember it’s not about what you achieve, it’s what you become in trying, because that’s a form of success in itself.
Without my past setbacks I wouldn’t be here now, but I’m fuelled by failure giving me a deeper motivation, and for that I am grateful.