Theodore Roosevelt on Success and How to Stand Out In Life!

Theodore Roosevelt's StatureHave you ever read something that left you with a WOW experience?

How about if it’s from someone you have grown to admire, do you take some time to ruminate on it until you’re drawn in and it becomes a part of you?

That exactly is what happened to me some time ago when I read a speech by Theodore Roosevelt, a former President of the United States of America. The speech titled: “Citizenship in a Republic” was delivered at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France on 23 April, 1910 (over a hundred years ago!)

Today I want to share with you a quote from that speech. I've been greatly  inspired by this speech and I hope it will also inspire you too.  Read it carefully. I've included my reflections. You may also want to share yours with us in the comments. Here's the 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.

“Among the free peoples who govern themselves there is but a small field of usefulness open for the men of cloistered life who shrink from contact with their fellows. Still less room is there for those who deride or slight what is done by those who actually bear the brunt of the day; nor yet for those others who always profess that they would like to take action, if only the conditions of life were not exactly what they actually are. The man who does nothing cuts the same sordid figure in the pages of history, whether he be a cynic, or fop, or voluptuary.

“There is little use for the being whose tepid soul knows nothing of great and generous emotion, of the high pride, the stern belief, the lofty enthusiasm, of the men who quell the storm and ride the thunder. Well for these men if they succeed; well also, though not so well, if they fail, given only that they have nobly ventured, and have put forth all their heart and strength.”

Now My Reflections:

1. Having an eye for the things that are wrong with others could be a real good pastime but it will benefit you nothing. As a blogger in the make money online niche, I'm always concerned when I see some bloggers who love to speak more of what others are doing wrong. As much as these ones think they are trying to help the community, I think as an entrepreneur, whatever your market may be, look at what others are doing and where you see something they are doing wrong, find a way to do it better. If you must correct others then try the biblical injunction to correct in love!

2. Action and action alone will give you the results you so much desire. Learning and planning, as good as they are, will not give you results. If you want the results you must be ready to get into the arena and be dirtied and marred by the dust, sweat and blood! That's what is meant by the saying, Ready, Aim, Fire!

3. If you fear failure success will be far from you. Trial and error are almost always twins in success! Don’t let the fear of failing stop you from starting that venture. As Theodore Roosevelt puts it, if you fail, at least fail while daring greatly!

4. Success is not something you can achieve alone. You need others on your way to success. The internet may have created a world of our own for us but as business entrepreneurs, using the internet as a marketing tool demands that we network and build relationships with others. I think this is why social media sites have become so popular for online entrepreneurs today. Remember no man is an island! Theodore Roosevelt puts it correctly, “Among the free peoples who govern themselves there is but a small field of usefulness open for the men of cloistered life who shrink from contact with their fellows.”

5. There is never the perfect time. As someone did say, do not wait for your ship to come in, swim out to meet it! Waiting for when the conditions are perfect will only produce regrets. Now is the time to do whatever you wanted done; there’s no other perfect time than now!

I think I must stop here to allow you to reflect on this. Please read the quote again.

Now take a minute to reflect on what you’ve read and yourself, you're a doer of deeds or the critic who is always pointing out what should have been done? Are you striving valiantly in the arena marred by dust, sweat and blood?

Share your thoughts with us in the comment below

Stay inspired!


  1. Apple Mango

    He’s one of the greatest, I like his saying ..
    “The only man who makes no mistakes is the man who never does anything.”
    so true. Kinda tough to be like him but he’s a great inspiration. Truly a leader!

        1. Chadrack

          @Apple Mango,

          Collecting inspirational quotes is one of my pasttime. I’m glad that you love that also. About that Roosevelt saying, I’ve learned that making mistakes could really be the greatest teacher! Instead of being afraid of failing swallow your fears and take the bold step. When you’re unable to hit your target, you will definitely learn from the experience you will be the better for it.


          That is very true. When you’re prepared whatever comes can actually be welcomed as a teacher to take you the next level. It is when you’re not prepared that you will be thrown off balance and panic comes in.

          Thanks for sharing with us.

  2. Jimmy

    Hi Chadrack,

    This is one of the most powerful speeches in history. Ranks right up there with Churchill’s call to never surrender, Kennendy’s call for what we can do for our country, and more recently Obama’s call for change.

    Roosevelt spells out secrets of leading successful lives. Daring to try. Willing to fail. Big enough to embrace others and also seizing the opportunities of life. What he says most significantly is not to try is the greatest travesty of all.

  3. Adrienne

    I agree as well Chadrack, that was one very powerful speech, up there with some of the other great ones.

    Your observations of what you took from this speech and put into what we are dealing with today are spot on as well. Those are some of the early things I was taught in my training. Watch what others are doing and do them better or maybe they left something out so add that to it. People appreciate that so much.

    I’m a big “actions speak louder than words” kind of person myself. Without action you will get no where fast.

    Fear is what holds so many people back but if you want something bad enough, you’ll do it anyway.

    One of the early things I learned as well is that you can’t do this alone. There are areas you will just not be able to grasp or things you just don’t have the expertise in. Work with those who have those strengths and you’ll get a lot further along.

    You are right when saying that there is never a perfect time for anything. Why wait when you can do it today. That’s why I don’t do new years resolutions and haven’t for years. There’s no time like the present to get started.

    Great insights Chadrack, thanks for sharing. Loved this post and the message.

    1. Warren@Internet Marketing

      Definitely one of the greatest speeches of all time! Point number 4 is the one that resonates with me the most. As a bit of an introvert I attempted to build my blog/business by myself in the beginning. It wasn’t until I opened up and started building a community however that I started to really start seeing some amazing results.

      No new years resolutions? 🙁
      I love them! LOL
      I am so a list guy!
      For me they are just a great time to jot down my “annual” goals.
      I still have daily, and monthly goals to keep me on track and busy also! 🙂

  4. DiNaRa

    Thanks for such an unusual way to explain the blogging policy comparing it to the Roosevelt’s speech. I have never known that he could speak with such inspiration. I agree that you need to act right now and all the time if you want to reach success.

  5. Darci@Enterprise IT Security

    It’s always fascinating to me how one can find inspiration regarding current struggles in the words of great thinkers of the past. This quote resonates with me today on both a professional and personal level. I think getting sidetracked can be a great danger to those who strive to accomplish big goals in life.

    This part struck a chord with me today, “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…”

    Don’t give up, even in a small way. Don’t lose your way and become an observer when you have what it takes to fight the fight and win.

    Very inspiring. Thank you!

  6. Sylviane Nuccio

    Hi Chadrack,

    This speech from Theodore Roosevelt is very inspiring, indeed. Interestingly it was presented in my home country, so it got my attention even more so. Great post you wrote here and I will definitely come back to read more. Your blog seems very interesting too. Will check around 🙂

    1. Chadrack

      @Sylviane Nuccio,

      You definitely must have some emotional attachment to this then! Great speeches like this have moved men to do great things and the fact that they are immortal, ringing down the corridors of time, is something that really touches me. Thanks for the good words about my work here. Appreciate!

    1. Chadrack

      @John Armstrong,

      Hey, you just need to know that in those reflections I’m really kind of speaking to myself! Those speech really touched me that I’ve to reflect on it for some time and having assimilated those lessons for myself I thought it could also help someone out there. I’m glad that you have been able to pick one from them.

  7. Cindy

    Such an inspirational text! Thanks for sharing it. I have read a nice text, too, which changed my mind and went to be apart of my thinking. It was the Declaration of the human and citizen rights, from 1789, at the time of the french revolution. There was defined the word: liberty. Liberty means, that you can do everything, which doesn’t damage an others right to his/her liberty. I think the liberal politician had already forgotten the original meaning of their flag.

    1. Chadrack


      That of course is very instructive. This is really the problem of our word today. When in the guise of personal rights we are undermining the rights of the generality of the people, we really need to again look up the meaning of liberty! Thanks for the comment.

    1. Chadrack

      @Gregg Camp,

      Glad to hear that. For me I have learned long time ago that mistakes are not to be a problem. I’ve so many things and learned a lot because I never consider my mistakes. Like Edison said when someone mentioned he had failed a thousand times trying to invent the light bulb and if he was going to continue with his research, I think we could just look at what we call mistakes and say, I’ve never failed but have learned how not to do that!

      When you do something and you made a mistake, just learn from it and never do it that way again.

  8. child dentist

    Why is Theodore Roosevelt a favorite President of those who want to conserve our natural resources and protect our environment? Your answer must include the following words and terms: U.S. Forest Service, Reclamation Act, natural resources, environment, effect of his action on the states

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