The Man in The Arena

Surely, you’ve come across this before…one of the greatest speech excerpts of all time, still relevant over a century later. Teddy’s still got it! I don’t think it can be overshared, so I will leave it for you below. I read this for the first time a handful of years ago and came across it again a couple weeks ago and it was the kick in the ass that I needed. I will use it as a reminder every time I start to lose myself.

I have been struggling, enormously, over the last year or so knowing I’m unhappy working a typical office job, stuck behind a computer all day without enough work to fill my time, but not knowing what else to do. Occasionally, I’d get an inkling of an idea, but squash it before it could go anywhere claiming so many people are already doing it and what value could I possibly add? Or questioning the inherent value of doing anything at all. I have a lot of qualms with capitalism and am reluctant to contribute to the already raging consumerist mindset, but as I’m unwilling to make the sacrifices and doubtful of my ability (and desire) to sustain my life outside of the system, I might as well throw my hat into the ring, yeah? The fact is, I am here. I might as well do something with my time. I’d rather live an interesting life, knowing I was brave or foolish enough to try something risky, than continue a boring and mediocre existence at some corporation’s beck and call, keeping me on a leash laced with safety. It is at least time to try, to set the wheels in motion.

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.

Theodore Roosevelt

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