Two days ago, I talked about Theodore Roosevelt's speech Citizenship in a Republic, and particularly the most quoted part, The Man in the Arena, and more specifically the beginning of it where he talks about the critic. Today we'll continue talking about the quote - only we're moving on to the middle part of it. Here it is.
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.
The man who is in the arena is the one who takes action. Instead of criticizing others, he focuses on his own life's work. He has devotion to a task he sees worthy. He gives his life for the pursue of that work.
This sounds, yet again, like the professional in Steven Pressfield's The War of Art. The pro turns up and devotes everything to a worthy cause - the life's work that speaks to him from the heart. The work might not lead him to glory, but it's the risk he has to take, because if he doesn't devote his life to the work and err time and time again, the chance of attaining glory is zero.
Strive valiantly. You'll come short countless times. The one thing that separates great men from ordinary men is that great men refuse to surrender. They have resilience and relentlessness. They stand adversity. They have endless devotion to their work. They never give up.
And you can only fail if you give up.