Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Consequences of Constant Timidity.

"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 saw the quote below on the Leader Business blog (blog link is to the right) of my friend, U.S. Army Colonel Tom Magness, and thought it was appropriate to point it out here, as well. Tom's message is as applicable to all settings of our lives. Too many of us find ourselves as just timid souls. Being willing to fly definitely means you are risking a fall; however, none of the great ones remained timid.

One thing that few know about Winston Churchill unless they are military history buffs is that he had a huge failure in WWI. Churchill thought up the plan that led to Allied losses at Gallipoli, and was viewed by many at the time as a terrible failure for him. About 480,000 Allied troops took part in the Gallipoli campaign. The British had 205,000 casualties (43,000 killed). There were more than 33,600 Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) losses (over one-third killed) and 47,000 French casualties (5,000 killed). Turkish casualties are estimated at 250,000 (65,000 killed). Churchill was devastated politically by the battle's failure, and it took almost two decades for him to be reborn as the leader who helped lead Great Britain in WWII against Hitler. However, likely the loss at Gallipoli may well have taught him invaluable lessons that he and FDR used in the landing at Normandy on D-Day.

This lesson is equally applicable to all "critics." Before you are too critical of the ones in the game, you might ask yourself whether you could have done better actually in their shoes, and be measured in any resulting criticism. Often the kindest critics have themselves been in similar lines of fire, and can appreciate that "answers" are often more readily available when the stress of limited time and real consequences are not facing you down.

Be willing to be daring in some measure, and you will often gain lessons that will help you find your own time of greatness, and the greatness for those around you.


1 comment:

Tom Magness said...

Well said, my friend. Here's to the "Man in the Arena!"

Nice job with the blog! I'll be reading!