Tyler Jorgenson

One Entrepreneur's Journey To Find Greatness


The Man in the Arena

I am excited to see the movie Invictus. In it Nelson Mandela gives Francois Pienaar a copy of the poem of the same title, but in actuality Mandela gave Pienaar a copy of Teddy Roosevelt’s speech The Man in the Arena. The most quoted excerpt is below:

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.

As I prepare to write resolutions for 2010 I will reflect on the dust and sweat and blood of the last decade. When 1999 came to an end I was in a small apartment (we called them ‘flats’) in South Africa. We weren’t sure if computers were going to crash and all mayhem break lose when Y2K hit, but we all made it through just fine. Over the past decade I have done a lot of things. I returned home to California in 2001, went back to school, bought a restaurant, got married, sold a restaurant, started a career in mortgage banking and real estate, started a family, invested in real estate (won some, lost some), moved a few times, graduated college, started a business or two, closed a business, made good friends, lost loved ones, went on a game show, traveled, and on and on. It’s been a busy decade of my life, and I have learned much.

Sometimes in the arena of life we achieve greatness and are privileged to feel the thunderous applause of the crowd and other times we may stumble and be met with boos and disdain of onlookers. The approval of the crowd is a fickle friend and one who lives his life thus seeking will be met with an empty reward. As I prepare for this next decade I commit to live my life boldly and in the pursuits of worthy causes.

Leave a Reply