Tuesday, September 13, 2005


I've attributed the following statement to John F. Kennedy, but, apparently, it comes from Theodore Roosevelt. It sounds like what I've read of Teddy more than what I've read of JFK (though, honestly, I really know little more than a good public school instruction has taught me of these two icons of American leadership). This piece is embedded in a rather long speech delivered in Paris in 1910. The speech was titled "Citizenship in a Republic." I rank this quote as a Top Ten in motivational quotes. What's your take on/response to it?
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belong 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. Who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and 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 know neither victory nor defeat." - Theodore Roosevelt


  1. Teddy Roosevelt was my favorite President to learn about as a child. He seemed much more interesting than most of the others, who, it seemed to me at the time wore white wigs or stuffy suits. Whatever else he was or was not, he was no stuff shirt.

  2. What if you are the critic and George Bush is the strong man?

  3. And what if you are the critic, whynot?

    All who fully engage the pursuit of life and who spend themselves in the struggle qualify, even those with whose manner or direction I may disagree.

    If you perceive that I am merely a critic, you do not know me. You judge amiss. My capacity to discern subtlties in engagement that call for changes and improvements in light of the Kingdom come from the struggle in the arena itself, not from the sidelines.

    Come on in, there's always room for more!

  4. I continue to find it sad and odd that folks who like to criticize and put others down have a need to do so from the shadows, in anonymity, fear of disclosure, and obscurity. "whynot" has no identifying profile, yet he or she chooses to dump a caustic comment on my blog. I just wonder what motivates and stirs in such souls?


Your tasteful comments and/or questions are welcome. Posts are moderated only to reduce a few instances of incivility.