"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."
-- Theodore Roosevelt
I love this quote, it inspires me deeply and in a way that a simple "fuck the haters" never could. Although on the surface the sentiment is the same, the added eloquence and the description of the process of creation and striving for success really lets you get a taste of what to expect when you begin a worthwhile journey.
I'm sure we've all run into those times when we really want to try something new, be it writing, sharing visual or musical art that we've created, dancing, or just introducing yourself to someone you'd like to talk to, but there's always that moment before putting yourself out there where doubts can creep in. The insidious and slippery eels of imagined failures and embarrassments that sneak into your head right before you pull the trigger.
The next time you encounter one of those moments, use this quote as a psychic shield, armor yourself with the reminder that those embarrassments and failures may come, but they are each a badge of honor, a mark of proof that you are out there and you are trying and you are doing. When you come out the other side covered in mud and blood and sweat, but gripping firmly in your hand the gleaming trophy of victory, the memory of those past failures you encountered on the way here will be scoured away in the light of your elation.
For me, the journey I'm on is the journey of writing, of sharing my thoughts and my experiences with the world at large. For a long time I thought I never had anything worth sharing, but as I've grown older and wiser, I realize that maybe I'm not the person who should be making that decision. So I'm bracing myself against the cold winds of criticism and just going for it. Those who find value in what I put out there will let me know, and if even one person does then I will have succeeded. Those who do not find value may criticize me, deride me, or ignore me, but I will persevere and grow stronger in the process.
I'm grateful to have found Steemit, a place which values original content and a community that embraces newcomers. Those things may change in time, but for now, something about Steemit really speaks to me, and inspires me to continue writing, sharing, and generally gives me a place where I feel safe to create, even if I don't think I've created something perfect.
As always, would love to hear your feedback!