"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."
~ Theodore Roosevelt, "Citizenship in a Republic,"
Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910
I had never heard of this speech of Teddy's before reading Dr. Brene Brown's book, Daring Greatly, but now it's one of my favorite quotes.
The title fits because the book deals with learning to live life Wholeheartedly... being engaged with the world around us, feeling joy and contentment, realizing the value of at least stepping into "the arena". It's about being vulnerable.
It reminded me of Kahlil Gibran's poem, On Joy and Sorrow...
Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter's oven?
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight..."
Unless we "dare greatly" and risk failure, unless we continue to challenge ourselves, how will we ever experience true success? How will we grow?
But it's about so much more than that. This is a tough book review to write because there is a lot to wade through in Daring Greatly... sex, marriage, parenting, leadership, shame, bullies...
It's written for everyone - business leaders, politicians, teachers, parents, students... anyone who wants to lead effectively or live passionately and joyfully - and parts of it are a bit too academic for me. It would be a good book to take in small bites. But most of it is very personable, as if Brene (I feel we're on a first-name basis now) sat beside me, sharing her stories.
(I happened to catch her on Katie Couric's new talk show last week, so I even know what her voice sounds like.)
This isn't a textbook or a self-help book or a touchy-feely Chicken Soup for the Soul book... it's an inspirational, motivating eye-opener and I recommend it to each and every one of you, and not just because this is a paid review for BlogHer Book Club. The opinions are totally my own.