Brave the Arena

“It is not the critic who counts; not the one who points how one stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better; credit belongs to the one actually in the arena face marred by dust and sweat and blood who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, who knows great enthusiasms and devotions, who at best knows triumph of high achievement, who at worst fails daring greatly”. –Theodore Roosevelt

If we ever want to be the hero, we have to brave the arena. If we ever want to see change, we have to brave the arena. Sometimes we do not choose to be in the arena, sometimes it is the tomato hitting us in the head from the stands that wakes us up to our surroundings making us question everything in existence.

Everyone has their own arena. For you, it could be your first time in a new job and your co-worker does not agree with how you handled a situation. It could be you are trying to get pregnant and the coffee barista tells you about her fifth child and asks why it’s so hard for you to get pregnant. It could be you are the only single one of your friends, and they tell you, “If you would stop trying, the perfect person will come your way like it did for me.” You might have lost a job, loved one, failed a class, been rejected from a job, or feel completely alone. Whatever your “arena” is, we all have them. Unless we recognize who is in the arena with us, or who is in the stands throwing tomatoes, we will be affected by the critics of the “doer of deeds who could have done better.”

Often enough those thrown tomatoes come in the form of words. These words can make us paralyzed, taking them to heart as absolute truth. If the words come from someone in your arena who has experience sitting in your seat, then those words have the power to inspire, empower us to exceed our capacity of what we never thought possible, or best, rebirth something from the depths of the grave. Words from outside our arena have the devastating opposite effect. They have the power to devour, deplete, and take up residence in creating exploding volcanos from desolate mountains.

The next time a tomato hits you in the head, remind yourself that perspective looks a whole lot different from 30,000 feet with no pressures around you or timelines to consider and crowds of people screaming in your face. Find the few that have braved your same arena and let their words be the ones that sink in.

Are you looking for a school that will challenge you to brave the arenas in your life? UMHB seeks to develop well-rounded leaders by providing students with an education for life and an experience of a lifetime. We invite you to visit our website for more info, or stop by for a visit!