Words matter. Words can either breath life, or tear us down. One of the more powerful words ever spoken was an excerpt from a Teddy Roosevelt speech titled Citizenship in a Republic that he gave in Paris, France in April 1910.
Perhaps you are familiar with it. Even if it is, I encourage you to read it again as if it’s the first time.
"It is not the critic who counts;
it’s 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."
Apply the “Man in the Arena” Filter
These are powerful words, aren’t they. But reading them alone is not enough. We need to reflect on these words, and put them into play. The question I was forced to ask myself is, "Are you living it out as the man in the arena. Why or why not?" I wrote this next piece as a filter for myself. You are welcome to use it for yourself as well.
Ask yourself, “I am the critic?
Am I sometimes like a Monday morning quarterback?”
Or am I actually in the arena — in the game?”
”How often am I trying to be a do-gooder to one up someone else — maybe not consciously — maybe subconsciously? How does that serve me?”
I need to choose to be the one in the arena facing the challenges of the day.
If I experience error and shortcoming,
I know I am at least I am putting in the effort, right?
If I’m not failing, then I am are not trying.
It doesn’t count unless I can fail.
I need to keep going.
Persistence ultimately triumphs over resistance, and
good deeds in God’s universe never go unrewarded.
Consider it pure joy whenever I face trials and troubles.
Because the testing of my faith develops perseverance.
It allows me to grow!
My attitude + My actions matters when the cause is just.
Here’s what know.
Good things come to those who grow,
who are tested, who stay the course,
who are willing to get out of their comfort zone and - yes - fail.
That’s how we learn. That’s we achieve. That’s how we win.
So, am I daring greatly? Why or why not?
If I not willing to fail, I am not not willing to learn.
But if I am willing to fail, then I’m ready to Win.
That’s how we break average.
VICTORY is always possible for those that stay focused.
It’s not the critic who counts, it’s the man in the arena.
I choose to be that man!
Will you join me!
I want to encourage you to download the full image poster highlighting this great speech.