April 24, 2010

It’s The Journey, Not The Destination

There is a great quote by Theodore Roosevelt in a speech he gave called “The Man in the Arena” (1910). The quote is about not being deterred by criticism, and to keep “striving valiantly.”

Quote from “The Man in The Arena”

Theodore 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 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.”

To me, it is not the destination, but rather the journey that is of critical importance in learning, growing, and becoming more tomorrow than we were yesterday.

A colleague a work told me, whenever you make a decision, half the people will love you and half will hate you. I understand that it can be easy to get discouraged when people criticize your decisions and actions. Leadership means listening to the criticism, even when it is painful. You just have to sift the constructive elements from the pure mud slinging.

He went on saying that just by living life, you would be jostled by it. And maybe that is the point, it is the striving—along with the bumps we get along the way—that builds our character and makes us stronger to take on even greater feats in the future.

So not to despair when times are tough, this is the making of a (hu)man and the crafting of a leader.


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