In the arena

Three weeks ago, I decided to write a post every day for a whole month (see Talker’s Block). I wasn’t exactly sure at the time what I would get out of the challenge, but I felt compelled to stretch myself. (I say stretch, but this “challenge” ranks pretty low on my list of real challenges.)

While I still have a week to keep blogging, I am learning about the benefits of bad writing.

When you write every day, sometimes what you write is good and sometimes is it bad. But the magic comes in writing frequently. You start to recognize good writing. You understand what is “good” for you and you long to write the good stuff.

Trying over and over again is always a good strategy. Failing at something breeds character. Writing bad blog posts helps you to truly appreciate the good posts.

I want to be action oriented. Attempting new challenges with no guarantee of a positive outcome. I was reminded of Theodore Roosevelt quote that is perfect for this mindset:

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.

I love this whole quote, but I am particularly fond of “because there is no effort without error and shortcoming.”

The real challenge for me is not blogging daily. The real challenge is pushing myself to the point where I have errors and shortcomings. And staying committed to that ideal even when others aren’t as accepting of my shortcomings.

So join me in 1) giving up being a critic and 2) jumping into the arena. Write poorly, but write. Give a poor presentation, but give a presentation. Have a frustrating conversation with your spouse, but have a conversation. Join me in the arena.

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