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May 11 2020: The Man in the Arena

May 11 2020: This is one of two posts I’ve written today on Teddy Roosevelt’s famous “Citizenship in a Republic” speech. Also known as “The Man in the Arena”. You can read the other post over on my company’s website.

“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; 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.”

Theodore Roosevelt, April 23 1910

The Man in the Arena

I don’t take unsolicited advice from people who don’t know what they’re talking about. If you’re sick, you should call a doctor. When you have legal troubles, hire an attorney. A burst pipe requires a licensed and certified plumber. Random strangers on the internet are rarely a reliable source for the expertise you need.

This was going to be a long rant about people that have never operated a business telling me how to run mine. It was going to be about people that have never created a damned thing in their life offering me advice on what I should write and how I ought to write it. There was going to be a long sidebar about how too many people think their subjective opinion carries the same weight as objective fact. But I’m tired of these people, and that’s the real message here.

What bothers me isn’t that they sincerely think they’re helping. They’re often trying to be supportive and encouraging. No, the issue is that it’s insulting that my business degree, years doing this full time, and measurable success is somehow equal to the stray thoughts of a person that has never done anything close to what I do.

To add injury to that insult, I’m expected to do the emotional work of not offending them. I have to justify why I’m not doing what they think I should to do. My informed creative choices, my well-research business decisions, have to be weighed against their feelings. They feel that their presence outside the arena is as important as what I’m doing inside of it.

May 11 2020

  • If you get anything out of these blog posts, consider buying me a coffee. You can also purchase one of my books or zines from Gumroad or DriveThruRPG.
  • I check all email and Twitter DMs, personal and professional, three times once a day. I respond¬† as time allows; if it requires some thought or research on my part, it will take me longer.
  • I am actively avoiding news and social media to focus on writing. Please take your information from reliable sources and certified experts, not the Mad Carrot and its puerile cultists.
  • Today is Day 56 in isolation.¬†

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