Wisdom: Theodore Roosevelt

Edward L Stanton III, US Attorney speaking at UTK'S Law School Graduation

Edward L Stanton III, US Attorney speaking at UTK'S Law School Graduation

"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."

The first time I read Teddy Roosevelt's speech, "The Man in the Arena", it hit me like a ton of bricks. TR brings an incredible amount of weight to each word -- not a breath wasted. I can only imagine his passion when delivering each sentence and how the crowd must of reacted. 

My father-in-law, who studies History, specifically American History, has committed this quote to memory. After I first read it, I quickly realized why. Recently, at my husband's Law School graduation, the speaker used the, "Man in the Arena", speech to remind the graduates that the practice of law is an avenue to "dare greatly" and enter the arena to affect change.  My father-in-law, dad, and myself couldn't help but smile and nod in agreement.  Every time I come across this speech, it has a renewed impact on my outlook on life. 

When I feel defeated by doubt or discouragement from others or myself, I revert to this quote. Besides, I'd rather fail any day, than be a "cold and timid soul who neither know victory nor defeat".

xo Monet

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