We often experience troubles, defeatist attitudes, and worries that without the mindset that anything can be overcome, can truly crush us.
It’s for this reason that I keep motivation close at hand at all times.
One of the most motivating things for me to see, is great men who have triumphed in the face of adversity. Knowing that others have overcome obstacles much greater than those I face gives me a push that I too can make it through the ordeal.
One such who has dared mightily and failed much is Theodore Roosevelt. Being born at a disadvantage didn’t stop Teddy from achieving greatly and leaving a lasting impact on the world.
Theodore Roosevelt was a politician, author, naturalist, soldier, explorer, historian, and President of the United States. The man did it all and is truly one of the most inspiring men in American History.
His quote, “The Man in the Arena” is my favorite. So much so that my wife had the quote stamped in a sheet of copper for me so that I can keep in my wallet.
You never know when something or somebody will strike you down and you will need to stand on the shoulders of giants.
The Man in the Arena
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.
A great illustration of this quote can be found in the book Zen Pencils by Gavin Aung Than. (his blog can be found here)