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.

- Theodore Roosevelt

I talk about this with friends and family quite a lot. Especially my kids. My daughter loves art and draws and doodles constantly. I asked her to publish her work once, but she was afraid to be judged harshly.

It is hard to do the work, to make mistakes, to make poor decisions and then be judged by those who do not know your fight.

I tell my daughter not to take judgment personally, these people aren’t in the arena with her. I don’t put unrealistic expectations on her or push her to do anything that doesn't fall within her passions, but at the same time, I try to challenge her and everyone’s ability to value their decisions. Bad or good, poor or beneficial - it doesn't matter because they are decisions we made in the arena. And they are ours alone.

I've come to realize that this is an ability - one we're never perfect at and one we need to exercise constantly.

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