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.”
Wow! I just love this quote! It’s definitely a keeper — I think I’ll hang it up in my office, so I can look at it on those days when I feel like slacking off or even giving up. I especially like the comments about knowing “great enthusiasms, the great devotions” and about striving valiantly, erring, and coming up short “again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming…”
I think Teddy is definitely onto something here when he says that there’s no effort without error and shortcoming. Effort and error go hand in hand — you can’t have one without the other. This is worth remembering when you’re really pushing hard but don’t seem to be getting anywhere or you find you’ve made a mistake of some kind — perhaps even pushed yourself in the wrong direction. When this happens, it can be encouraging to recall what Teddy points out here: that errors and shortcomings are integral to any major output of energy and any worthy undertaking.
So here’s an equation we might all put into action: Enthusiasm + Effort + Error + Endurance = A Successful Endeavor.
Bravo, Teddy! Let’s dare greatly and write dangerously today as we all write on!
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