Brené Brown is one of my favorites. She is incredibly wise and her insights and research on courage and vulnerability has transformed how people live and lead. She is the author of the bestselling book, Daring Greatly. The opener of the book is a quote from Theodore Roosevelt, and it has served as the basis of much of Brené’s work. It is entitled “The Man In The Arena” quote, and it reads,
“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 have been thinking recently about this idea of courage. And I don’t mean courageous acts of heroic proportion- I am talking about everyday courage. That courage that comes in showing up and being brave. The root of the word courage is “cor”, Latin for meaning “of the heart”. Quite simply, to live from the heart is the hallmark of living a courageous life. When we do this, not only do we open ourselves to authenticity, but to the hearts of those around us.
It requires bravery to exemplify courage in our lives. One must be brave in conversations of vulnerability. One must be brave when they are taking a risk or trying something out for the first time. Telling someone how much they mean to you- that is brave. Having the grit to try something and fail and be okay with that- that is brave. To live life to the fullest….that, my friend, is brave.
To dare greatly, as Theodore Roosevelt would say, is far better than never daring at all. To live a life outside of mediocracy takes bravery. It is easy to get so caught up in flowing through the motions of our lives, that we forget that an extraordinary life is right there, waiting for us. You just have to be brave enough to go and get it. It will take some falling down before rising up, and it will take some uncertainty before self-assuredness. But, it starts with one simple step: having courage each and every day. Having courage to see the gratitude in each situation, and the opportunity that lies in each moment, to live an extraordinary life.
So, dare greatly today. And each day after that.