I read an encouraging article from Jason K. Allen over at the For The Church blog last week. It included within it one of my favorite quotes from Teddy Roosevelt, which I’ve attached below from Allen’s post. Before you read it, here’s a thought on how to apply it.
In the course of the next week, when you are observing someone making an effort — whatever that effort is, your local barista, your waiter or waitress at the restaurant, the guy working on your home, maybe even the preacher serving up a Good Friday and Easter sermon with all the pressure that can bring — instead of feeling an inclination toward criticism because of a potentially less than stellar performance, be grateful for their willingness to at least try.
Teddy Roosevelt, the 26th president of the United States, was one of the greatest elected officials in our nation’s history and one of the greatest leaders the world has ever known. He was a tsunami of energy, one who never saw a mountain too tall to scale or a fight too threatening to join. He shook the nation, invented the modern presidency, and left a changed country in his wake. In other words, there is a reason why his face, along with Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln is chiseled on Mount Rushmore.
Teddy Roosevelt, reflecting on the burden of leadership and the willingness to risk all and attempt great things, famously observed,
“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.”