The Man in the Arena



One of my mentors shared their favorite inspirational passage with me.  It’s The Man in the Arena.

The Man in the Arena is a famous passage from the speech  Citizenship in a Republic, given by by Theodore Roosevelt.  It’s about standing strong when tested.

It goes like this …

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.”

You grow, by putting yourself out there.  If you’ve ever been in a situation that requires great courage, skill or tenacity, then, you know what it’s like to be “the man in the arena.”

If you’re going to fail, then at least dare greatly, and remember, it’s not the critic who counts.

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  1. Guys always ask me, “How do you become confident?” The only legit answer is that confidence comes from experience. It comes from pushing your comfort zone, putting yourself on the line, and DOING. There’s no other way around it. Very cool passage 🙂

  2. Three things come to my mind:
    1. Jack Canfield’s 18/40/60 rule*
    2. Edison’s “I have not failed, i have found 1000 ways that don’t work”
    3. And someone else’s “if you aim to the stars at least you hit the sky”

    * When you’re 18, you worry about what everybody is thinking of you; when you 40, you don’t give a darn what anybody thinks of you; when you’re 60, you realize nobody’s been thinking about you at all.

    I am 40 this year, i can perfectly confirm – I do not care much what others think of me.

  3. I love this type of post J.D. Action orientation! It’s about getting out there and making it happen – not sitting back and hoping for it.

    I really really love the man in the arena story!


  4. @ Vered — It’s truly powerful.

    @ Nick — Yes, confidence is like a muscle, and the more you flex it, the greater it grows, and nothing teaches like experience.

    @ Alik — 18/40/60 rule is a great rule of thumb, and I bet surprisingly true.

    @ Jk — It helps me do a re-think of the various arenas of life.

    @ JB — So true, and so empowering.

    @ Elena — I’m glad you liked it. It reminds me of the saying, it’s not how many times you fall, it’s how many times you get back up.

  5. My Motto:
    If you don’t like the way it is done, change it. If you can’t change it, adjust your attiude!

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