Opinion: The future belongs to those who fight the battles

Apr 16, 2019 at 07:00 am by clervin

This column's about getting involved, about the pursuit of what you want even when those around you voice their doubts.

I implore you to chase your dreams and ignore your critics.

Many of you who regularly read my columns may disagree with my political stance, but hopefully we can agree that the future belongs to those who fight the battles, even those that end in defeat, not those who snipe from the sidelines. In our day, when cynicism and aloof detachment are considered hip and cool, Theodore Roosevelt reminds us that glory and honor come to those “who spend themselves in a worthy cause.”

A date in the near future: April 23, marks the 109th anniversary of Roosevelt's legendary “Man in the Arena” speech, a message he delivered at the Sorbonne in Paris, France. Now the most quoted of all his messages, Roosevelt's admonition remains timeless instruction for anyone with a dream:

"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 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."

This column was inspired by someone who's running the Boston Marathon, though many around her told her she couldn't do it.

Most of us won't be running a marathon or for political office, but all of us are running the race of life. All of us have dreams, those goals and aspirations that stir our hearts. Big or small, see them for what they are – hopes and ideas that God may place in our minds for purposes we can't always see. So, go ahead and take a step. Then another.

It sounds trite but it's true: Failure is often a steppingstone to future success. Seize the challenge and manage it like running a marathon – one mile at a time.

This speech is justifiably famous today, although one wonders what Teddy would think of his words being tattooed on Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemworth's arms reportedly.

I believe another famous quotation is applicable here. Eighteen century British statesman Edmund Burke (a supporter of American independence) declared, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

As for me, I won't be guilty of doing nothing.


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