Today is March 15 and the Navigate the Chaos question to consider is “do you realize the power and impact of your words?” Long after we write or say something how often do you think about the power or impact of your words? Former President of the United States Theodore Roosevelt once gave a speech over 100 years ago, that continues to have an impact today. In his Citizenship in a Republic speech he gave at the Sorbonne in Paris, France on April 23, 1910, Roosevelt 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, who strives valiantly; 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 speech, also known as Man in the Arena has been referred to countless times since Roosevelt said them back in 1910. Nelson Mandela gave a copy of this speech to François Pienaar, captain of the South African rugby team, before the start of the 1995 Rugby World Cup, in which the South African side eventually defeated the heavily favoured All Blacks of New Zealand.
Mark DeRosa, an American professional baseball utility player then with the Washington Nationals, read the passage to teammates prior to the Nationals' pivotal Game Four versus the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2012 National League Division Series which was won on a walk-off home run by the Nationals' Jayson Werth. American scholar, Brené Brown, used a somewhat abbreviated version of the quote in her March 2012 TED talk "Listening to Shame," and subsequently as the inspiration for the title of her book, Daring Greatly(2012). LeBron James has #ManInTheArena written on his shoes. Midshipmen at the United States Naval Academy are required to memorize "The Man in the Arena" during their indoctrination training.
Are you in the arena? Are you striving valiantly? And do you realize the power and impact of your words?