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Critics don't count


I think I can safely say that most of us enjoy compliments and feel hurt by critics. We love to feel that what we put out into the world is valued.

The quote below from Teddy Roosevelt is probably the most profound on how to ignore critics. I remember my friend Chris de Bruin quoting it many years ago when he decided to do Ironman Korea. It really resonated - so much so that I decided to do the Ironman in 2008 (success) and 2009 (DNF). I'll be back to do it in 2017 when I turn 50.

When I'm feeling cautious to take a risk and put my work out into the world, I re-read this quote and it all seems better.

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

Theodore Rooselvelt speaking at the Sorbonne Paris in April

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