– Written by Billy

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.

This is an excerpt from one of President Theodore Roosevelt’s most famous speeches titled “Citizenship in a Republic.”  Since the first time that I’ve read this quote, I’ve made it a priority to apply these words, popularly known today as “The Man in the Arena,” in all aspects of my life.  I recently thought about these words again after watching Balitmore Ravens’ head coach, John Harbaugh, passionately recite these words after a big victory.  Although Coach Harbaugh was joking in reciting this quote, no one can ignore how powerful these words really are.

There comes a time when we have to put fear, hesitation, doubt, and distractions aside to pursue a goal.  To step out and start at a goal may appear to be daunting at first, but we have to see the benefits in taking the initiative to push forward to make a goal a reality.

You might succeed.  Hey, you might even do better than you ever imagined.  Alternatively, there may be times where you will not achieve what was planned.  But this is not failure.

Rather among so many other valuable accomplishments,

  1. You learned something about yourself;
  2. You opened doors to new opportunities;
  3. You did not let life pass you by;
  4. You built character;
  5. You overcame insecurity, fear, and doubt;
  6. You might have helped someone along the way;
  7. You probably even inspired someone;
  8. You might have met someone who could help you purse the next goal.

No matter the outcome, you have so much more to offer than those who chose to sit on the sidelines.  There’s so much to gain and learn, but you have to be active to find anything of significant value.