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.” Teddy Roosevelt
Wow! I love this quote and enjoy revisiting it. 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…”
I think Teddy is definitely onto something when he says 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 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.
Let’s bring great enthusiasms to our work today as we all write on!
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