“The Man in the Arena”

Recently, I came across a quote I used often during my tenure as president of Mount Vernon Nazarene University. At the farewell service at the university, the Mayor of Mount Vernon, Richard Mavis, included the phrase, “The Man in the Arena” on a plaque he gave to me on behalf of the city of Mount Vernon.

The phrase is from a quote from Teddy Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States. I am glad I found it again recently. It is one of my favorites.

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 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 fails while daring greatly,
so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls
who neither know victory nor defeat.

“Citizenship in a Republic,”
Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910

Please share with me your favorite quote!
LeBron Fairbanks


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