I came across this quote from Theodore Roosevelt in Daring Greatly by Brené Brown, a book I highly recommend. The quote touches on others’ judgement, criticism, self-worth and expecting and preparing for hardships.
There are three key messages in this text, which I will detail below.
Pick whose opinion you value
This is something to keep in mind when trying something new, taking up a new project or putting yourself out there. Especially if you are worried of others’ opinions and judgement or people criticise you. Ask yourself who the negative comments are coming from. Is it someone who is in the arena? Are they as courageous as you, or do the not have any first hand experience? It’s important to consider all feedback if it is constructive, but usually the unnecessary and unwelcome comments that are not helpful come from folks who do not have more or, at least, equal experience or knowledge as you. In this case, their opinion doesn’t really count.
It will be tough, be prepared
The second takeaway is the acknowledgement that being in the arena will lead to sweat, dust and blood and you will probably come short, i. e. have setbacks multiple times. If we expect messiness, hardships and fatigue, we can prepare ourselves and try to put some strategies in place to pick ourselves back up. If we don’t know this is to be expected, we might find ourselves doubting our capability and wondering if we should give up
Know your worth
Closely linked to both points above is the fact that you need to be strong in the knowledge of your abilities and resilience to be able to ignore criticism that is sterile. You must also be willing to fight and spend a lot of time and energy into the project you are tackling, which is easier to do if you have faith in yourself and your capacity to overcome issues.
I have found the image of the man in the aren useful in multiple occasions and hope it can be helpful to you too