In April of 1910, Theodore Roosevelt gave a remarkable speech called, “Citizenship in a Republic” in Paris, France. Here is the essence of the most famous part of his message…
“It is not the critic who counts; not the (person) who points out how the strong stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the (person) who is actually in the arena…who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes up 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 (themselves) in a worthy cause; who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at worst, if (they) fail, at least fails while daring greatly…”
Where have you dared greatly in the past? How did you and others benefit by your efforts to not just get in the game but do your best to win it?
I think we all can recall times when we made a major contribution to winning a worthy game by using our unique strengths. Choosing to go all in to achieve a challenging and meaningful goal brings out the best in us. If that is true, then what’s stopping us from daring greatly more often? Why don’t we end more days where we experience the positive emotions associated with striving valiantly?
I think it is because we spend too much time listening to that little voice in the back of our head that tries to convince us it is safer to sit in the stands and critique others. If you want to Win The Day, you have to learn to overcome this resistance and fight the part of our brain that wants us to stay safely on the sidelines. It is better to get in a game you might win or lose than to be a spectator in life.
Roosevelt ended his speech that day with these words…“You have had a great past. I believe you will have a great future. Long may you carry yourselves proudly as citizens of a nation which bears a leading part in the teaching and uplifting of mankind.”
The majority of us will never have the chance to change the world, but all leaders have the opportunity and responsibility to teach and uplift the people who cross their path every day.
It’s time for us to stop listening to our negative self-talk and begin to Win The Day more often.
Let’s Get Better. Together! Bill Durkin