Great Teddy Roosevelt Quote

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.

  • When people start bad-mouthing oil companies or organize a **walk for breast** cancer I wish they would think about this quote and the simple corrollary that its better to do than to just talk about doing. Instead of saying we should have alternative energy or organizing the aforesaid walk against cancer why not take the direct approach. Get an engineering or medical degree and actually contribute to the solution of the problem. uhhhh but wait…its much more fun to criticize the do’ers than actually do something. The unfortunate thing is that more and more our society seems to be driven by gum flappers rather than the can-doers.

  • @Fred – maybe I am missing something or you are referring to some particular event that I’m not familiar with but surely a ‘walk for breast cancer’ *is* taking action.

    There are numerous similar sounding events in the UK where thousands of people get very involved raising awareness and money to pay for real and professional research into various medical conditions and I would put the people who organise and participate in those events firmly in the ‘can-doer’ not the ‘gum-flapper’ camp.

  • Fred,

    I respect your opinion but you are grossly deviated from the path of logic reasoning. After reading your words I felt like I was reading something that Tucker Carlson or Rush Limbaugh wrote. Roosevelt’s quote is a great one, but in your hands it methamorphosized into something very different. Maybe people who bad-mouth oil companies do so because they feel strongly about it. Perhaps that represent their devotion to a cause about which Teddy so eloquently writes. Correct me if I am wrong, but I think walking for breast cancer, or Alzheimer’s absolutely qualifies as a worthy cause since most times, the person walking is helping contribute money towards a cure via sponsorship and pledges.

    Also, the vantage point of those who embrace the oil companies are almost invariably linked to the monetary benefit they derive from such companies. Sadly, for most people, this is not the case. I am from Ecuador, which happens to be an oil-producing country, yet we have to import refined oil products, partly because Texaco and other oil companies managed for many years to exploit and destroy vast expanses of Amazon rain forest and enriching their pockets while people native to that territory died in poverty. Oh, and by the way, I am working on getting my medical degree. 😉

    To quote Saul Williams’s “Shakespeare”
    “For we share the guilt of blood spilt in accordance with the Dow Jones. Dow drops fresh crop skull and bones. A machete in the heady: Hutu, Tutsi, Leone. An Afghani in a shanty. Doodle dandy yank on! An Iraqi in Gap khaki. Coca Coma come on! What sense does it make to keep your ears to the street? As long as oil is in the soil, truth is never concrete… ‘Cause the laws to which we’re loyal keep the soil deplete.”

  • Fred,

    I think your definition of “doing something” is too narrow and simplistic, which makes your argument very weak.

    First, breast cancer:

    Actually being a researcher or doctor is just one of many ways to contribute to a medical cause. Research requires resources, and so anything done to add more resources to this particular area of research can have an impact.

    Walking for breast cancer does two main things (as I see): [1] provides a means for individual walkers to raise money for the cause, and [2] raises awareness, which helps influence decision makers and other donors to spend/donate more money for the cause.

    Money is like condensed “doing-of-things” in the form of actual hands-on research, so these walks-for-cancer actually represent a LOT of “doing”. It would be irrational to think that everyone who cares about cancer must become a medical professional in order to genuinely help.

    Second, oil companies:

    For many, “complaining” is the only form of power they know how to access in order to influence decisions that affect people and the environment in significant ways. Technology is not the only change agent in the oil industry; politics also plays a very big role (you might want to read “The Prize”, a history of the industry, for a fascinating introduction) — so these people are not always acting in vain (though sometimes they are, indeed, ignored). They really are doing something.

    And, again, just because you want to have an effect on a particular industry doesn’t mean you need to be a technical expert on it. Not everyone can, like Google’s RE<C, start an ambitious research project to develop clean energy technology that’s cheaper than fossil fuels. In fact, very few could. But many people can offer valuable input on decisions that affect the environment and society. Even if it’s in a form of complaining that you find annoying, I’d still call that “doing something”.