Defining "Good" / Being In The Arena

How do you define "good"? For years, I've dabbled with the idea that this 'good' quality was maybe something that maybe I could never achieve. I think most people feel similarly but allow their egos to trick themselves out of it. Haven't you ever set out to do something that you are deathly afraid of failing?

The antidote to this insecurity brings me to one of my favorite quotes of all time:

"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." - Teddy Roosevelt, 1910.

This is quote was, of course, two years before Teddy Roosevelt was famously shot while giving a speech and, after the assailant was apprehended, continued on orating without receiving medical attention. In short, Teddy was tougher than 99% of anybody alive today. And its echoed in this sentiment which I believe is one of the most profound things ever stated. It enabled me to rewire the way I look at anybody else's criticisms and go forth unaffected.

If you're a creative soul, you're gonna be brought down at some point by somebody. Whether its from a toxic relationship with a member of your family, some thick-brained coworker, or even your significant other. Being sensitive to nuance comes with a price of being exposed to critique. Next time you're feeling victimized, do yourself a favor and think about the person who is actually in the arena. More credit will always, ten times out of ten, go to that person for doing something the critic couldn't: trying.

JH