Why The Credit Always Belongs To The Man In The Arena Who Dares Greatly

Published on: September 7, 2018

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The Man Who Strives Valiantly

“The willingness to show up changes us, it makes us a little braver each time.”—Brené Brown

Sadly, critics are everywhere these days and hide behind their uncertainties wishing they were in the limelight. They are not only people, but the inner critic within us. Sometimes, the critic appears masquerading as a family member, a loved one or a close friend. A snarky remark here and there leaves you bewildered as to their intended message. Can you identify with this narrative of the unassuming critic?

Critics come with the territory of leadership, particularly when a person advances in their career or personal life. As my mentor often reminds me: “The higher the monkey climbs the tree, the more of his butt you’ll see.” Meaning, the higher the ladder of success is climbed, the more exposed you are to being judged, however that should not deter you from reaching for success. Critics are frustrated people whose time is yet to come. Let me be clear, I am not talking about those whose job it is to write about theatre plays. I am referring to those who sit on the sidelines not willing to enter the arena.

I’m reminded of an inspiring passage from a speech delivered in Paris in 1910 by the 26th President of the United States of America, Theodore Roosevelt. Titled The Man In The Arena, the short excerpt underlines how critics have little place judging those daring greatly: “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.”

Greatness Is A Meal Not Savoured By All Men

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.”—Robert Kennedy

This is not a story about critics but something more. It is about acknowledging the person who dares greatly. Those vulnerable willing to scale new heights and put their reputation on the line. This is an ode to the individual who enters the arena and though they may stumble and fall, they know there is no greater service than to follow their passion and purpose. The credit belongs to those who risk defeat, humiliation and yet are purposeful in their conviction towards success. Whilst they may encounter setbacks, their cause is greater than the critics who looks down on them with disdain. Have you received unwarranted criticism in your life? How did you respond and did it affect you? Sometimes, those we expect to be our chariot of hope will let us down, however this mustn’t deter us from achieving excellence.

Greatness is a meal not savoured by all men because some do not have the hunger for it, even if it were served on a silver platter. Greatness stems from working diligently and tenaciously towards our dreams, our goals and highest aspirations. It is the victor who enjoys the spoils not the critic who laments from afar. This is the message echoed by the great American essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson who wrote in We Are the Builders of Our Fortunes: Success through Self-Reliance: “What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think. This rule, equally arduous in actual and in intellectual life, may serve for the whole distinction between greatness and meanness. It is the harder because you will always find those who think they know what is your duty better than you know it. It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.”

Daring greatly arises from a firm resolve and a resolute will. It is why critics abound because not all men are equipped with these virtues. The critic wishes from afar while the champion wrestles with greater powers. The battle is not for everyone and why it requires somebody with a heart forged of steel—a daring hero advancing forward even when things appear grim. I believe there are two types of people in the world: the champions and the critics. Which of these protagonists do you identify with? I trust by reading this article you associate with the former and are intrigued by awakening your greatest power? Perhaps it lays dormant or you have yet to rouse its potential, nevertheless I assure you it is there. Don’t wait another minute to step into your greatness otherwise you risk becoming a fallen comrade, a critic who wonders why success eluded them. Critics are everywhere voicing their disapproval while the champion is committed to progress and achievement. This is an affront to the critic who wishes they were in the arena daring greatly.

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