If he fails, at least fails while daring greatly

. 1 min read

Theodore Roosevelt speech continues! I covered the begin and middle of The Man in the Arena part of the 1910 speech Citizenship in a Republic earlier this week. You can check them here and here. But now, the end! The best part, really!

[The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena]...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.

Now, I understand this sounds like black-and-white thinking. That's because it is. You go all out, or you don't. You either give it your all, or you don't. There's no middle ground. Everything less than 100 % is not giving your all.

You need to give your all if you want to know the triumph of high achievement. Nothing short of it will do it. You must be in the arena, covered in dust and sweat and blood. If you fear you'll get dirty of hurt yourself, you'll never make it.

You might be afraid you won't succeed. I get it. It's a valid fear. But guess what? Even if you fail, you fail while daring greatly. And the mere act of daring greatly will make you immortal and secure your place among the great men of history. History written by humans may not record your efforts, but the world will know what you did. You contributed. You may have changed the course of the universe for all we know.

Dare greatly. Take your chances. Victory or defeat, at least you won't be one of the critics or the cold and timid souls who played it safe and never even tried.

And if you ask me, the chances of triumph greatly exceed the chances of failure.