My son had an English assignment recently, where he had to memorize and recite a short poem or excerpt by a poet or author. He chose an excerpt from a speech delivered by Teddy Roosevelt, in 1910. The full 35-page speech is called ‘Citizenship in a Republic’. The excerpt, referred to as ‘The Man In The Arena’, has since been quoted by President Nixon, Nelson Mandela and others facing events that required courage, skill and tenacity.
Written over one hundred years ago, I believe it’s relevance is timeless. In essence, this brilliant, motivational man believed that true character and success stemmed from discipline and hard work.
I hope my son, who memorized every word, carries this message with him. And perhaps, like me, you’ll find some inspiration too.
Here it is:
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, 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 and 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 the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat.
What do you think?
What inspires you?