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 them better. The credit belongs to the man in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows 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 nor defeat. – Theodore Roosevelt, in a speech at the Sorbonne, 1920
Gary Weller’s recent guest post reminded me of this quote. If I have any regrets in life, they stem from not thinking bigger and not putting myself out there more. Too much self-doubt, too much caving to peer pressure, too much acceptance of “conventional wisdom”. I try to not succumb to that stuff any more, and if people think I’m nuts as a result, so be it. We live in a society that lauds people who take chances and succeed, but mocks and ridicules people who try and fail. This seems to keep many people from taking chances and going for their goals.
Yoda was wrong. It’s not “do or do not”. It’s not “if you aren’t assured of success, don’t try”. No. Sorry, venerable and honored Jedi master. It is absolutely all about trying.