It Is Not The Critic Who Counts

Anyone familiar with this blog knows that I am a fan of quotes. There is plenty to learn from those who came before us.

In saying that, perhaps one of my favorite quotes is cited in the Renzo Gracie video below. I typically include a quote at the bottom of each blog entry, but this quote deserves its own post.

Roosevelt’s words are still as powerful as ever.


“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

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  1. Unfortunately, people often let criticism or fear of failure stop them dead in their tracks. If you have never failed chances are you haven’t lived. We should all take Roosevelt’s words to heart and to hell with the critics and naysayers. Didn’t some Englishman say something along the lines of “To thine ownself be true.” If you’re truly true to yourself and follow your heart, you won’t bother wasting precious time trying to please critics who look to tear down others who at least have the cojones to face a challenge head on, rather than seek the safety in the role of a non-participant. I’m not sure who said this but it might have been Ken Kesey, who was most notably known as the writer of the book “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” but to paraphrase Mr. Kesey, he wrote or said something along the lines of ‘Why do people spend some much time tearing each other down when no one is that big to begin with.’

  2. This reminds me of what Seneca once said: If thou art a man, admire those who attempt great things, even though they fail.”…
    Given that Nixon and Nelson Mandela later referenced this part of Roosevelt’s speech in their speeches, one is able to see the significance of these words.

  3. The quote that concludes your Infinite Intensity book. My son memorized it for his military training, and it was one of his very favorites.

  4. Brilliant quote, like Mike says the Kipling quotes are also fantastic. The important part of that quote is the end, “those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat”. Another great quote is the One Day as A lion “It is better to live one day as a Lion, than 100 years as a Sheep”

  5. One of my favorite quotes! I first saw that on a wall at Ft. Bragg, NC (home of the Airborne).
    Critics and haters make noise, but we don’t have to listen.

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