I’ve been contemplating this quote by Theodore Roosevelt for the past couple of days:
“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’ve been lucky in that I have a lot of supportive people in my life as I “strive to do the deeds.” My friends and family have been there for me as I’ve progressed in Aikido, performed as a dancer, and began the long journey of writing a novel. I hope I’ve been supportive and not a critic for my friends who have gone back to school, started their own businesses, written novels, and began new adventures. All around me I see people being supportive of each other.
Roosevelt is right. In the end it’s better to have dared greatly and failed than to never have tried in the first place.
What about you? What big thing have you dared? Was it successful or did it fail? Are you surrounded by supporters or critics?