Time to Get in the Game of Life
There are many great men and women of history that we can study to learn many great life lessons and strategies to create our best life. Theodore Roosevelt was one of these great thought leaders that I have studied from time to time.
Roosevelt delivered a speech in 1910 called “Citizenship in a Republic.” There was a part of that speech referred to as “The Man in the Arena” that has been quoted, studied, and learned by many great leaders and people over time. People like Nelson Mandela, Richard Nixon, and many other individuals of power and influence have referred to this speech because of its significant message and impact it had on their lives.
Today I would like to share that message with you and draw a few life lessons I feel are important to note…
“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.” -Theodore Roosevelt
Here are just a few of the many lessons I feel we can gain from this powerful message”
Its not the Critic who Counts
Far too often we give power and attention to the people around us that criticize, judge, and cast doubt upon efforts we may make in life. Do not give credit to the people sitting on the sidelines of life. Those people do not deserve to have any influence over you when they are not themselves, willing to be vulnerable and risk failure and defeat. Stop giving away your power to the criticism of other people.
Credit Belongs to those “in the Arena”
If you are willing to risk failure, judgement, and criticism for the reward of victory. If you are willing to do what it takes to live an authentic life, without regret or letting fear stop you, then you deserve credit. Take time to recognize your own efforts and recognize your own courage to take action in “spite of fear”. You deserve it…
Too often we judge ourselves based on an outcome. We watch the scoreboard of life in order to gauge our results in order to label our efforts as good or bad. We must always remember that life is not an end goal. It is a journey. It’s important to recognize that our efforts, in spite of fear, obstacles, and trials are the ultimate judge of our character and success. To “Strive Valiantly” is a great thing, and we should take comfort in knowing that effort and willingness to “Be in the Arena” is a rare thing in life. Be the exception.
No Effort without Error
Many of us face Failure with a sense of loss or judgement. However, when we learn to acknowledge failure and mistakes as a learning experience, we are empowered and find ways to constantly improve. It is only through failure and experience that we learn and grow. There is no better feeling in the world than to feel like you are growing. We need to recognize the power in the failures and mistakes that teach us lessons that we use to create an amazing life.
Spend Time on a Worthy Cause
If life is worth living, then it’s worth living a life dedicated to a worthy cause. So many people are just on autopilot. They never really experience the joy of operating inside their unique talents and dedicated to a worthy cause because they are too busy “making a living” to “make a life”. I encourage you to identify something that brings you joy and purpose and to schedule that into your daily life. It is with this focus that we are able to create much more fulfillment and happiness in our life. Identifying a purpose and passion (outside your own needs) will ultimately bring you massive amounts of happiness.
Know Victory AND Defeat
I’ve learned throughout my life that it is the Sadness we experience that helps us to fully Recognize and Appreciate the Moments of Joy and Happiness. It is our defeats that allow us to experience the thrill of Victory in a much more satisfying way. When we learn to put aside our fears and walk through the trials of life, we realize that Defeat and Victory, Sadness and Joy, Failure and Success are inexplicably linked to one another.
I really enjoy this short quote and excerpt from Theodore Roosevelt, and I hope it will remind you of the Amazing happiness and Fulfillment you can experience in life if you are but willing to “Enter the Arena”.
George Wright III