When critics say it can’t be done

Well, ain’t this just the strangest type of holiday week, folks? What with the Fourth landing on hump day and all, it’s awfully tough to figure out whether you should be in the office, or out relaxing with the family, isn’t it?

Well, whichever you’re doing, why not take a break to read the words of this great American, and get yourself nice and rightly in a Fourth of July mood:

It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat.


That was Teddy Roosevelt, folks, speaking at the Sorbonne in 1910. But he could have just as easily been speaking to you.

You know, Teddy Roosevelt was born right here in Manhattan, the home base of TheLadders.com’s world headquarters. He was a great president: a writer, a conservationist, a trust-buster, and a patriot. And all this despite being a Harvard man! (Boola boola, I’m a Yalie 😉 )

And I love to drop by his childhood home, which is right here in Gramercy Park. So my colleague Jen and I paid a visit to the Theodore Roosevelt’s Birthplace National Historic Site, and we took a couple of photos.

And you know Readers, TR was on to something in his quote above.

Because it’s true: the critics, those professional naysayers, the doom-and-gloomers, will tell you: “No. It can’t be done. Don’t try. Give up. Why do you have to stand out?”

But don’t mistake their words for truth, my friends. Don’t buy into their message of “settle-settle” and underachievement.

Because you’ve been blessed with talent; because you’ve had the fortunate happenstance to be born in this great country (or emigrate, or visit!); because you’re one of the leading professionals in this land, you have a higher calling this Fourth of July, Readers.

You need to use the great powers you’ve been given; you need to find the forum where your talents will shine; you need to be in that place where your spirits soar and the work seems like… victory to you.

So enjoy this 4th, and then find your new arena.

I’ll be rooting for you all the way.