Be The (Wo)Man In The Arena
June 14, 2022
In 1910, Theodore Roosevelt, the youngest president in the history of the United States, gave what would become one of his most quoted speeches titled “Citizenship in a Republic”. This speech would become famous over the decades as the “The Man in the Arena” speech. One of the powerful passages from the speech is given 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 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 up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the 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 he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”
The core of the “Man In The Arena” message is simple and direct. It is not about winning, and it is not about losing. It is all about showing up and being seen.
If you are in any role involving creativity and risk-taking, there will always be some form of fear that holds you back- fear of falling short or being judged for not being good enough. Roosevelt’s message is a rallying call to all who have it in them to deliver great work but are afraid of taking the plunge.
Don’t be afraid of getting into the arena. Don’t worry about failing or winning. Don’t worry about the critics and the cynics. Just go out and play the game !!. Be the (Wo)Man In The Arena.