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I Want to Be in the Arena . . . Marred by Dust, Sweat and Blood

I Want to Be in the Arena . . . Marred by Dust, Sweat and Blood

I am a collector of quotes.  And every once in a while there is one that prods and stirs me deeply.  This is one I have meditated on since I read it a book a few months ago, though I would add ‘tears’ to the list of dust, sweat and blood. It points to great courage, no matter the result, because it means fighting with a full engagement in the game.  It’s who I want to become and embrace – whatever my ‘arena’ albeit writing, art, leadership, public speaking, anti-trafficking initiatives and, most of all, relationships.

woman soldier

Man in the Arena

by Theodore Roosevelt

It is not the critic who counts:

Not the man [woman] who points out how the strong man stumbles

Or where the doer of deeds could have done better.

The credit belongs to the man [woman] who is actually in the arena,

Whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood,

who strives valiantly,

Who errs and comes up short again and again,

Because there is no effort without error or shortcoming,

But who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotions,

Who spends himself [herself] for a worthy cause;

Who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement,

And who, at the worst, if he [she] fails,

At least he [she] fails while

daring greatly,

So that his [her] place shall never be with those

Cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.

‘Citizenship in a Republic’ Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris 23 April 1910

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