You Can Quote Me
I love quotes. I always have. I came across one of my all-time favorites again this morning. The first time I heard it, I had one of those huge "AH-HAH!!!" moments that changed my perception of life and my little part in this great big world forever. Dr. Brene Brown introduced me to the quote in a video I was watching... YouTube, maybe? Anyway, it doesn't matter. You can find her reciting it all over the internet. And I think that's because it resonates with so many people. The quote is from a speech President Theodore Roosevelt gave in 1923, and is often referred to as "The Man in the Arena" quote. Here it is:
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 up short again and again, because there is not 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 he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory or defeat.
The first time I heard it, it poked me deep in my heart. Am I living my life 'in the arena'? How am I viewing others who are 'in the arena' but are (by outward appearances to the world) "failing"?
And what do I think about my critics who say things about me? About my art? About my studio? Well, let me tel you: if they are not in the arena beside me, or at least in their own arena, getting their butts kicked, their face covered with sweat and grime and blood, I DON'T CARE. I don't. There's not a thing they can say that would make me care about their opinion. Now those who are beside me, getting their fair share of dirt sandwiches... those are the people whose opinions matter to me. They're the ones I want to be having conversations with. Meals with. Doing life with. Everyone else? Nahhhhhh
So how about you? You in?