I recently ran into the famous Teddy Roosevelt speech known as the “Man in the Arena”, It focused on a key attribute of leadership – the ability to survive and recover. What differentiates leaders from followers in the former’s willingness to live a life of risks. I thought I would share it:
“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, 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.” (Theodor Roosevelt, Speech at the Sorbonne, April 23, 1910)
Are you the man in the arena or are you more passive? Why? Think of the time you were in the arena – how did it make you feel? As Sir Richard Branson would tell us: it’s the risks that makes life exciting. Share your thoughts.