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Dare you …
Saturday 13th May 2017 @ 5:47 pm

Brené Brown takes the title of her book, ‘Daring Greatly’ from a speech given by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1910. It is an apt and illustrative title … and a fantastic book. 

I am constantly amazed at how ‘snippets’ from history can jump toward us and be of use. By that I mean, I don’t know very much about Teddy Roosevelt. Only that he was called Teddy. And that like most Presidents he left snippets for us to muse … I suspect he was Wesleyan as one of the shortest snippets you sometimes hear is “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” As usual, I am more than amused, because that particular quote doesn’t come from Teddy at all. It comes from Squire Bill Widener – who Roosevelt attributes it to in his autobiography. Turns out I know less than I thought I did about Teddy Roosevelt.

But this quote is from him … and it follows on from a speech to the Sorbonne in Paris, where he tells them his aim for his speech is to speak of ‘individual citizenship.’ He affirms the Republic of France as being like the Republic of America where democracy needs what he calls ‘heroic virtues’ carried out by the normal people of the every day.

In that context – this quote is even more enlightening, and maybe even more needed across America and Europe than when it was delivered 107 years ago.

With usual apologies for patriarchal language of the day.


“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.”







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