Stay in the arena

Teddy Roosevelt may have been one of the greatest United States presidents to have set foot in the White House.

A leader of humble quality, he was known to remember the names of all his staff, occasionally offering a little gift or spark of insight to each one. He pioneered the conservation movement, played a key role in settling the great Coal Strike of 1902, wrote 35 books throughout his lifetime, and became partially blind in one eye due to a blow he received during a boxing match in the White House. Yes. In the White House.

One of the quotes he is quite famous for has a special place in my heart, and I would like to share it with you. It’s from a speech he gave in 1910 at the University of Paris, just one year after he left the Oval Office.

“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.”

-Teddy Roosevelt

Whatever difficult and narrow path you may be on now, and as much criticism as you may be receiving for doing the right thing, stick with it. Keep fighting despite the odds. And don’t allow critics to even partially blind you to the goal you’ve set. Stay in the arena.