Beethoven’s Fifth. The Theory of Relativity. Macbeth and The Taj Mahal. SpaceX and Uber. All astoundingly beautiful works of utter genius.
You have the capacity for this realm of creativity within you. Are you expressing it full on? Or are you mailing it in–and just coasting along in the trance of distraction that is sucking the greatness out of too many among us?
3 weeks ago I posted an excerpt from a famed speech called “Citizenship in a Republic” into my journal. Here’s what it said:
“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.”
These profoundly galvanizing words by Theodore Roosevelt speak so deeply to me. And I hope to you.
It’s so easy to be a naysayer. Too simple to tear the dreamer down. All too common to condemn the visionary. And, as you know, critics generally have the biggest complaints around the work they wish they did.
The credit for all acts of genius and mastery does go to the one in the arena. The one with the guts to hear the haters and keep moving ahead. The one who takes the leap and ends up bruised, battered and even bloodied. The one who hears the noisy voices of self-doubt yet trusts something larger and wiser within that encourages him to continue, against all odds.
The path of mastery is not for the meek. The highway to audacity is not for the faint of heart. The route to world-class is a messy, chaotic, gorgeous, terrifying, fulfilling, brilliant, confusing ride. Not easy. But easy is vastly overrated
Give me hard and demanding anytime, for that’s where growth lives. And that’s where our greatest rewards lie. I want to be totally spent by the time I’m done. No point in dying with your gifts still within you.
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