For Those Who Weren't There......

"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 (emphases mine)

This past Monday night I led a "class" of men from my church in a discussion about this very quote. I challenged each and every one of them with these thoughts:

  • Every man has an "arena."
  • The "arena" is for testing.
  • Many men avoid the "arena" because of fear of failure.
We started off by identifying their particular arena(s). For some their arena was in the area of finances, others it was their family time, some it was their God-given purpose in life, and a few acknowledged it was their marraiges. These were areas they felt led to "fight" for, and yet for some reason weren't giving 100% effort to do so. Why? Because failing was too scary for them.

So, I challenged them to consider this quote I read in Craig Groeschel's new book "It" (provided by my boy Scott Williams from the N-Dub! Thanks again, buddy!):

"Failure is the tuition you pay for success." - Walter Brunell

I don't know Wally, but that guy has it all figured out! We have to change the way we view "failure." Now, I'm not saying we should rush out and fail, fail, fail. What I am saying is we should be willing to risk failure to experience our "triumph of high achievement."

What about you? What's your "arena?" More importantly, are you in it?