Stepping onto the Sand
“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 ... and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly” - Theodore Roosevelt, 'The Man in the Arena'. 23rd April, 1910.
Life is built on failures.
From the catastrophic blunders we feel we will never live down, to the careless word said that hurts someone in a moment. Growth is built on these failures. Without them we stagnate, watching those around us flourish as we fall into shadow.
I've been musing about growth, failure and discomfort a lot in recent weeks. It's been my huge epiphany since remounting my efforts in learning Spanish. And it's brought other observations and experiences from throughout my life into sharp relief.
I've never been an 'active' activist, so to speak. I've never shied away from voicing my opinion, and I've attended protests. But, admittedly, I've mostly stayed within the comfort of ally-ship: voicing agreement, joining the crowd I can hide in. And I'm sure I'm not alone in this: "I agree" is safer than stating an opinion outright.
In the year of our Lord 2020, a lot is going down. We are experiencing the definition of discomfort, and I have seen so many friends and colleagues step up to the plate. They inspire me to raise my own bar.
I know I will probably fail. I will probably say the wrong thing. Maybe this blog post will be a prime example. But I will strive to do more than cheer from the sides.
I will do more.
I will fail.
I will listen.
I will learn.
I will grow.
Failure isn't comfortable. But it is necessary.
Time to enter the arena.