With the 4th of July coming up on Wednesday, it’s a good time to reconsider this advice from a great American:
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 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 and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for 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 he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.
Those critics, those naysayers, the nags and the negative people in our lives who want to tell us: “No. It can’t be done. Don’t try. Give up, Marc. Why do you have to stand out? Why won’t you just be sensible and give in to the inevitable?”That was Theodore Roosevelt speaking at the Sorbonne in 1910, but he could have just as easily been speaking to you.
They don’t count. And you mustn’t mistake their words for truth.
Don’t buy into their message of settle-settle, underachievement, and muddle-along-now.
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.
Use the great gifts you have been given, find the forum where your talents will shine, discover that place where your spirit soars and the work smells like… victory in the morning.
Enjoy this week of the Fourth, and then go find your new arena.