Man in the Arena: The Speech That Will Free You from Criticism & Failure

Man in the Arena: The Speech That Will Free You from Criticism & Failure
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Those words are as true today as they were over a century ago, echoed across time by politicians and poets, athletes and academics alike. And for those of us enduring this particular moment, they’re perhaps especially meaningful. After all…

Criticism Comes Second

Our generation is no stranger to criticism. While every generation has had to suffer through wails and warnings about “kids these days,” for us it’s been particularly inescapable. We’ve had it rained on us from cable news, bled through in editorials, satirized on SNL, eviscerated in self-proclaimed “thought” pieces, and shouted at us by anonymous commenters on the internet. If the critics are to be believed, we’re simultaneously a bunch of soft, sniveling PC snowflakes incapable of functioning in the adult world and a pack of violent, cannibalistic, anarchists who pick our teeth with the bones of our enemies. As impressive of a feat as that is, the sheer ridiculousness still doesn’t take the sting out of it.

Listen long enough and we will start to get ground down by the constant barrage of belittlement, scorn, and scrutiny over our every action – whether it’s the job we’re working, the art we’re creating, the candidate we’re campaigning for, the partner we’re pursuing, or even how we spend our free time. And while we can do our best to resist it, even the most mindful of us are at risk of internalizing that self-censure, casting doubt on our every plan or dismissing every result. It’s at times like these that Roosevelt’s reminder is especially important: the critic doesn’t count.

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