The Man in the Arena

I have erred.  I have failed in things, but I have tried to learn from these mistakes, tried not to repeat them.  For the most part, I’ve succeeded.  I may not be striving to change the whole world, but I like to think I make a difference in some people’s lives, be they co-workers, friends, family, or children.  I also like to think that if presented with the opportunity to make a change on a much greater scale, I would be up to the task…that I’d have the intestinal fortitude to do what needed to be done, and, hopefully, make a change for the better.

“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.”

This *excerpt from Theodore Roosevelt’s “Citizenship In A Republic” speech, delivered at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France, on 23 April, 1910, is simply fantastic.  The whole speech is very good, especially for the time it was given, but this excerpt, known as “The Man in the Arena”, is at the heart of every person who toils to do their best, to make things better, to bring about change and sometimes, …simply to do what’s right.

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