Being 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.”

– Theodore Roosevelt

Sometimes, when you are on the field, you kick your team-mate right in the shins. Sometimes even when your heart is in the right place and you are playing your very best, you score on your own net. Sometimes even when you want to be a good sport, you treat the opposition unfairly. Sometimes…you fall flat on your face.

Learning to fail well is important. Learning that even if you say the wrong thing or stumble over yourself in public it won’t define you. Choosing not to see a poorly done task for work as indicative of your entire career. Choosing to see mistakes as opportunity for growth instead of as a fatal character flaw is good. Humility helps this task because it means you are not shocked by your failure, instead you look again at how to get better. Too love better. Too learn to not be so clumsy with others. To learn how to get stains out. How to say sorry. How to give grace…and receive it.

That is what I’m thinking about today. So thankful to be in the arena. Even on the days when I kick my team mates in the shins…


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