I know it’s not good form to compose a large percentage of your article with somebody else’s words, but the following quote I found so inspirational that I think it must be shared in entirety:
“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 and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, 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 he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
It is by Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States, who remains the youngest man ever to be sworn in as President. However, I don’t think it matters who said the preceding words. What I think matters is the universal truth contained within them.
Too often we give up on our goals because we let “reality” talk us out of them. We set ourselves on a particular path only to turn back when the first obstacle inevitably floors us. I know only too well. So many times in my life have I started something — whether it’s a business idea, a fitness routine or a novel — only to get to the point where I realize I’m not that good at it. I’m not gifted. There are so many people out there who can do it better, who have the time and energy to work harder. “So what’s the point?” I think, and give up on that path and turn around.
What I’ve only just come to realize is that it’s okay to not be the best. It’s okay to fail. It’s okay to sink in a pond full of bigger fish.
What’s not okay, is to stop kicking as soon as the sinking starts. So often I’d just accept that I was going to sink so I’d jump back out of the water and look for a different pond to jump in.
This comes, primarily, from listening to the naysayers, from doing too much research and letting “the facts” zap your enthusiasm, and from setting standards too high for yourself and then giving up when you can’t reach them on the first jump.
I’m not saying “don’t set high standards for yourself.”
But accept that reaching them will take a lot of stumbling along the way. And like old Teddy Roosevelt says, if you fail, at least you fail while daring greatly. Even if the critics and the naysayers don’t know it, you, deep down, will know that you’re living to the fullest.
You’re a contender. Don’t reside with those cold and timid souls on the sidelines. And if you lose long and passionately enough, some day you might just win.