The Man in the Arena

Teddy Roosevelt gave a speech in 1910 entitled, “Citizenship in a Republic“. This is a quote from it that people have dubbed, “The Man in the Arena”.

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.

It is so much easier, and common, for people to criticize than to be the person making the tough decision. It is easier to point out his or her shortcomings, where they made their mistakes, why they aren’t doing a good job or how differently you would have done it.

The world needs more people getting into the arena and less people sitting on the sidelines taking each and every opportunity to point out how the people in the arena are failing. The greatest failure of all is not trying to make a difference.

Make a difference.




  1. Joe Koufman on September 5, 2012 at 10:36 am

    Reminds me of my favorite Teddy Roosavelt quote “Dare Mighty Things”:

  2. Sherry Heyl on September 9, 2012 at 8:45 pm

    Love this!

  3. 3 Sales Trigger Examples and Email Templates on September 27, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    […] Congrats on your latest progress in starting your own company. I admire the folks who really step “in the arena” as Roosevelt eloquently put it. […]

  4. […] It also reminds of one of my favorite concepts, The Man in the Arena. […]

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