The Man in the Arena

April 23, 1910 – Sorbonne, Paris
From Citizenship in a Republic:
“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.”

Read the full text of the Citizen in a Republic speech, here.

I suppose this is as good a starting point as any. For better or worse, I tend to dive into work without a lot of planning or preparation. Exhibit A: this blog. I don’t read directions or user manuals often. Not as a starting point anyway. I have low patience for lots of discussion before action. My mentor at work tells me I have a “change bias” but not to worry because he has it too and there are more deliberative souls to balance (and frustrate) us. As for critics, I enjoy constructive feedback. And, despite my link below to a cartoon where he is ruthlessly mocked, I really enjoy the work of Roger Ebert because he created *while* criticizing. For example, his description of his political beliefs is pretty damn brilliant. Because he wrote it and millions of people read it, I can reference it when discussing my own political beliefs. I have little patience for complaining without acting, for offering criticism with no suggestion(s) for improvement. Just because you’ve seen everything doesn’t mean you understand it.


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