The Man in the arena quote by Teddy Roosevelt is one I’ve talked about extensively in the Impossible Manifesto when I released it a couple years ago. Lately it’s been coming up in my head over & over again. It’s worth a read (or two).
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
I’m on the cusp of announcing a big venture coming up. It’s probably the most intimidating thing I’ve ever contemplated. Honestly, I’m not quite sure if I can do it or not. It’s definitely on the edge of what I think is possible. But it’s also one of those ideas I get in my brain and I’m not going to be able to sleep until I do it – so I might as well go for it, right?
I was talking with a friend about this and she mentioned, that even if I tried it and failed miserably, it wouldn’t matter because at least I’m in the arena. She didn’t even mention the quote above directly, but I knew exactly what she was talking about.
It always seems to come back to the debate between being the one doing the critiquing & the one doing the doing.
It’s way too tempting to sit on the sidelines and heckle the guy in the arena taking punches to the face and say that’s a bad idea. It’s even easier to sit on the sidelines of potential things you might do someday and heckle the future about the punches you might take someday take & why it’s “smarter” to just avoid them. It’s hard as **** to actually get in the ring and take the punches yourself because then it’s your beautiful little face that is as risk of getting messed up. You’ve got skin (and a face) in hte game.
I’ve got a big project coming up that’s going to push me in ways I haven’t been pushed before – but more than anything it’s getting me back to getting in the arena, even if I get beat up, I’ll be able to sleep knowing I’m going after it.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. – Marianne Williamson
Be the man in the arena – even if you take a few punches to the face. At least you’re in the arena.