I had never heard of the speech, “The Man in the Arena,” until my mom told me about it today. Teddy Roosevelt gave the speech in Paris in 1910, and it’s noted for it’s emphasis on participating in life, through the ups and downs, as opposed to sitting on the sidelines.
I read the speech tonight, and in the midst of questioning pieces of my life, I found comfort and hope in the words of Roosevelt. You can find the speech in it’s entirety here, but the most famous passage is below:
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.