Growing up we all learned about Theodore “T.R.” Roosevelt, Jr. fighting as a “Rough Rider” in the Spanish-American War. But I was clueless to his true character. Of course, he was highly educated (Harvard) and well read, but more than that, he was a hard-nosed, rugged man’s man and tough as nails. The more I read about our 26th American President, the more I respected this great man and the admirable life he lead. He was much more than I had ever imagined.
First of all, as an example, let’s talk about my favorite motivational topic—perseverance. TR truly exemplified it. He did not achieve great political success from day one. In fact, in 1886, TR ran as the Republican candidate for mayor of New York City; he came in third. But he pushed on, persevered and ultimately became commander-in-chief.
While TR was campaigning in 1912—in a lost race—a Wisconsin saloonkeeper shot him. But the bullet was lodged in his rib cage after being slowed by his steel eyeglass case and thick, 50-page speech he was carrying(see adjacent images). Instead of going to the hospital immediately, instead he chose to deliver his planned speech with blood still dripping from his shirt. He went on to speak for 1½ hours. His told the crowd of 10,000: “Ladies and gentlemen, I don’t know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot; but it takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose.”
To be clear, Col. Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt walked the talk, and definitely personified and lived the values he espoused. Finally, I’ll leave you with what I believe to be the most notable portion of this great President’s speech, “The Man in the Arena.”
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.