I had a great talk recently with a man who is running for public office. He talked of his determination to make a difference and impact the State for good. He also talked of what he knows awaits him (should he be elected) …criticism, misunderstanding and judgement.
With some sadness I reminded him that there will also be a never ending parade of arm-chair quarterbacks who would not dare step forward and make the same effort he will make but feel completely justified “tearing him down” when he does not do what they determine he should.
He smiled and referenced the “Man in the Arena”.
“The what?” I asked.
“The Man in the Arena”, he said. “You know, it is the guy doing the work that counts and not the critics”
On the way home I Googled “The Man In The Arena” and came up with the following excerpt from the speech “Citizenship In A Republic”, delivered at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France on 23 April, 1910 -by Theodore Roosevelt. download PDF
“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.”
I read the entire speech (some 20 pages long). For you history buffs it is very cool. But even if you can’t stand looking back further than last week you will still enjoy what Roosevelt said. I though about it a lot and started to see it all around me (and in me)
Actual quotes….this week
“That ref is horrible” … spoken from a fan some 65 yards away from the play in question.
“The coach is an idiot”... this from a person who got as far as Pee Wee football so he clearly knows how a D1 College Coach should lead his team.
Our President is incompetent” – from someone who’s entire political education comes from Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. (I’m a fan too…but maybe need a little balance ya think?)
“The administrators at (college) are stupid”... of course the alums know everything that is going into the decision in dispute.
“Our (player) is a choker” … yea, he is paid millions of dollars a year because he is no good.
We criticize from our ignorance….
How bout this: ….unless you have been “The player”, The Coach, The Candidate, The Ref, The Boss, The Pastor, The “whatever” …then give them the benefit of the doubt before you decide “they” are complete “knuckleheads”.
REMEMBER: Someday YOU WILL BE THE “MAN IN THE ARENA”
but only if you are willing to “DARE GREATLY”