Are You Still in the Game?

February 11, 2020
James Whittaker

Check out this episode on the Win the Day Podcast

“If you fail, at least fail while daring greatly, so that your place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

President Theodore Roosevelt

That quote was regarded as one of Roosevelt’s greatest rhetorical triumphs. It’s paraphrased — the original passage is far longer and taken from a speech called ‘Citizenship in a Republic.’ That speech has become very famous and is also known as ‘The Man in the Arena.’ It was delivered in 1910, one year after he had left office.

For those who don’t know much about Roosevelt, he was — and still is — the youngest president in US history, achieving the status at 42.

Why is the quote so powerful? It’s his emphasis on the cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. If you want to achieve ANYTHING noteworthy in your life, whether that’s to make a difference in your job, or be a loving parent, a devoted husband / wife, or start a business that supports the community, or any one of the other infinite options, you need to be the person in the arena — leaving yourself susceptible to all the good AND bad that can happen.

That’s the dichotomy of life. You can’t have good without evil, light without dark, summer without winter, day without night, happiness without sadness. It’s the way nature and humanity works.

Roosevelt was leader during an extremely tumultuous period for the world, so when he talks about 'The Man in the Arena' he knows it, he lived it, and he thrived in it. He was the man in the arena. Roosevelt transformed the world and maintains an enduring legacy because of it.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret here. If we don’t make the decision to get in that arena, the battle will come to us — whether we like it or not. And when it strikes, there’s a very good chance that we’re far less equipped and prepared to deal with it than we would’ve been if we fronted it head on to begin with.

This is so meaningful now because by the second week of February, only one in five people are still working on achieving their goals. Remember, that’s out of the minority percentage of people who actually set goals in the first place! Studies show that it’s around 3% of people who set goals. If only one in five of those people who set goals is still working towards them in February, that makes it only 1 in 200 people – or 0.6% of the population – who are living with intent.

That’s an absolutely crazy statistic, and no one ever talks about it.

That’s why this post is titled “Are You Still in the Game?” If you don’t know what success looks like to you this year, then you better get moving because it will be over before you know it.

In Episode 19, we went through a whole heap of tips you can use to set yourself up for a big 2020. Here’s another quick tip – if you struggle to stay motivated or accountable, set a calendar notification (or alarm on your phone) for the first Monday of every month @ 10am. When the notification / alert goes off, have it say … in capital letters… “WIN THE DAY.” (You can obviously pick any message you like, but ‘Win the day’ always gets it done for me.)

That will be your motivation to go extra hard on those days, setting yourself up for a huge week, and then month, and then year.

So my challenge to you is to get in the arena! Get your hands dirty. Get some experience, some life lessons, and some adversity. Along the way, you’ll find out exactly who you are, what you want, and how to get it.

Most importantly, don’t give up. Life is going to kick you in the ass from time to time, but the greatest treasures are reserved for those who persist.

So keep going. If you’re still in the game, give yourself a big congratulations. And if you’re not in the game, there’s still time – but you need to take action now.

Onwards and upwards always,
James Whittaker

In case you missed it:
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