Posted by: Marty Fahncke | September 22, 2011

Are you a critic or a doer of deeds?

I saw this awesome excerpt from a Teddy Roosevelt speech on a blog yesterday.  It really resonated with me on many levels, so I wanted to share it with you…

Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt on a horse

Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt

“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 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 and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for 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 he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”
Teddy Roosevelt “Citizenship in a Republic,” Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910

I’ve read it over and over, and each time I get something more out of it.   Here are just a few key thoughts:

  • Don’t sit by wishing and watching.  Go and actually DO something big, scary and perhaps even intimidating.  You’ll grow from it no matter what
  • Continue to TRY no matter the obstacle, no matter how bruised and bloody you become.  Don’t sit around wondering “what if”.
  • Have the courage to fail
  • Have the courage to succeed
  • Ignore the critics who often let fear stop themselves from attempting anything big or important

What about you?  What do you believe is the most important message in what Teddy had to say? (Please comment below)


  1. I Love this Post
    For it is at those times when following a dream that inevitable moment of question shows up. I can then go back to this excerpt and remind myself that it is only a fraction of the big picture. And that without this moment of fear or doubt I am not playing a bigger game.
    The other thing it reminds me to do is this.
    If I find myself judging another I shall choose to hold up a mirror and ask myself what is it that I am afraid of.

    • Great comments Cathy, thank you for sharing them. Glad you liked the post!

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