Inspiration for your Perspiration (and New Year’s Resolutions)

The Man in the Arena

Theodore Roosevelt was visiting Paris in 1910 when he gave his “Citizenship in a Republic” speech

Teddy bears were named after Teddy Roosevelt

Teddy bears were named after Teddy Roosevelt

at the Sorbonne.

A short excerpt from that speech became famous as “The Man in the Arena.”  It speaks of man’s struggle to succeed.  You will recognize your personal steno school trials and tribulations.

We can’t win every battle.  Until we finally pass our tests, we will fail time and again.  But victory will be ours eventually.


The Man in the Arena

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.

Inspiration for your Perspiration (and New Year’s Resolutions)


This poem acquired its name when it was included in a book of poems.  Before that time, it was Victory is mineuntitled.  Even when the author published it in a book of his poems, it remained unchristened.  In the table of contents, the first line of the poem was used in place of a name.

Editor Arthur Quiller-Couch put a stop to that foolishness when he republished the poem.  He named it “Invictus,” which is perfect.  It means “unconquered,” and it describes the poem to a T.  The author thanks the gods for the pure will to succeed.

Out of the night that covers me,

Black as the pit from pole to pole,

I thank whatever gods may be

For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance

I have not winced nor cried aloud.

Under the bludgeonings of chance

My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears

Looms but the horror of the shade,

And yet the menace of the years

Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,

How charged with punishments the scroll,

I am the master of my fate:

I am the captain of my soul.

William Ernest Henley 1875

A little bit of that kind of determination will go a long way in your stenography classes.  Not everything about court reporting will be easy to learn.  There will be times when you need that extra push.

You can do it.  You are the master of your fate.  You are the captain of your soul.