AW

Man in the Arena

In Inspiration and Motivation, Life, Life Lessons, Pursuit of Happiness on April 5, 2011 at 9:14 am

What would the world be like without social media?  It’s been less than a decade since social media wove its way into the fabric of society, and yet it’s hard to remember life before Facebook, Twitter and the like.  Because of social media and the Internet, anyone who has an idea has the power to share it with the masses with little to no monetary investment required.  However, no investment does not mean that there is no cost.

Ironically, the blessing of social media is also a curse.  The tradeoff for being able to deliver your message to the masses with relative ease is that critics and naysayers have an equal opportunity to dismiss or mock your vision instantaneously.  There is no rule that says that they need to take the time to understand your idea before passing judgment, and even if there was, it wouldn’t necessarily stop them from sharing their negative opinions with the world.

As an entrepreneur, I am always interested to read about other like-minded people.

This past week, I was reading an interview with an entrepreneur who is trying to launch an interesting concept using the power of the Internet.  When asked for a favorite quote at the end of the interview, the entrepreneur shared a short speech entitled “Man in the Arena,” which was delivered by Theodore Roosevelt on April 23, 1910…

“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 and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, 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 he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.

The world has changed drastically in the 101 years since Roosevelt delivered his “Man in the Arena” speech, but his message clearly stands the test of time.  It is just as inspirational to the modern-day entrepreneur as it must have been to the men who entered the arena over a hundred years ago.

“Ever tried.  Ever failed.  No matter. Try again.  Fail again.  Fail better.” – Samuel Beckett

Being the “Man in the Arena” is usually difficult and often times frustrating.  No one likes to fail, but those who choose to enter the arena realize that failure is nothing more than an opportunity to make improvements.

Given the choice between being “a cold and timid soul who knows neither victory nor defeat” or the “Man in the Arena” who fails while daring greatly, I will choose the latter 100% of the time.

“Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising every time we fall.” – Confuscius

It is much easier to wonder what would have happened if I had done things differently than it is to look back with regret for failing to even make an attempt.  It may not always be easy being the “Man in the Arena,” but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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