Every once in a while, I find myself thinking about the famous excerpt from Theodore Roosevelt’s speech “Citizenship in a Republic” titled ‘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.
It reminds me of 2 things –
1. There is very little value I add as a critic. If I really care about something, I should just take ownership and fix it. And, if I don’t, then move on and focus energies on what I am working on. 9/10ths of education is encouragement.
2. It is okay to fail. But, if you do, fail while daring greatly. And, fail by being authentic.
It never fails to inspire me.