Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Arena

In France on April 23, 1910 Theodore Roosevelt gave “The Man in the Arena” speech.  Here is a portion of that speech.

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.

We can all be a critic.  But Teddy nailed it didn’t he?  It is not the critic who counts.  Those of us who are critical and judgmental just don’t count.  The one who counts is the one in the Arena.  The one who is Doing something.
Years ago I had several pieces at an art show.  I was standing back away from my art booth and watched a man point to my Penny’s from Heaven Painting and said “Hell, I could do that” as he laughed.  So I walked up behind him and said “I would love to see you try!  I have some extra supplies here.  Let’s see what you can do.”  He started using ugly words and walked away.  Why?  Because I challenged him to do something.  It is not the critic that counts but the women who is actually in the arena painting out her heart and soul.

How about you?  Have you written, painted, or built something that you are afraid to share?  Afraid of what others might say?  Afraid of being criticized? Criticism kills creativity because we are vulnerable to what people think of our creative process. 

So, what can you do?  Give yourself credit!  Credit that you stepped into the Creative Arena.  Yes, you might fumble and stumble but give yourself credit for getting up and standing in that arena.  I promise giving yourself credit will make you feel strong and the critic (including the inner critic) will shut the hell up.

AND the next time you feel the need to criticize someone ask yourself this question “who is in the arena?

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