I was reading some information about the US president Theodore Roosevelt. I started getting interested because I had a memory of me watching a podcast in which the guest describes Theodore Roosevelt as his life as a superhero. From watching videos about Teddy Roosevelt, I see why people will think that. I watched a video which told a story of Roosevelt punching out a man with a gun. Think about that for a second, a man brought fists to a gunfight and won. A story I heard is that after he lost an election, he decided to explore an undiscovered river in the Amazon. Which two of the people that travelled with him died. Also suffered a serious illness. That he got hallucinations. But eventually got back to America.
I started thinking that how will a Theodore Roosevelt deal with the modern problems that we a dealing with. For me mainly thinking about climate change. I know that teddy was a huge environmentalist. So, damage to the environment will not be something he will take lightly. Maybe because he helped prompted one of the biggest engineering projects at the time the Panama Canal. Maybe he would have done something similar. Like, have prompted a full transition into a smart grid. Or the biggest Direct air capture plant in the world. I don’t know. But I think he would not have tiptoed around the issue.
I want to read up more of Theodore Roosevelt’s life. As there is a lot more to learn from a person like him. I would like to read his autobiography. And I will listen to some podcasts about him. The Art of Manliness blog by Brett McKay has numerous articles about him. That’s how I originally got to know about teddy a few months or years ago. Mainly from the call of A Strenuous Life. Where teddy calls for people to do hard things. And not to chicken out of stuff. Maybe the reason why teddy was popular for today’s time is because of his “masculine characteristics”. Got into fistfights, when hunting and served in the army etc.
But he sits well with most people because of his inner characteristics. Cared a lot about empathy and leadership. Not modern-day LARPing. Like twitter alphas telling you not to lean in. Or guys flexing on Instagram. Teddy never talked about being a man. He just did it. I guess being a great man is just being a great human being. Reminds me of the Marcus Aurelius quote “Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be. Be One.” The different between LARPing and being one. Is simply taking action.
Maybe that’s what teddy will simply advise us. To simply act. By simply acting we are moving towards the direction of the solution. We can course-correct along the way. But we need to start moving. Teddy seems like he was always on the move. Teddy calls us to get into the arena.
The full quote:
“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”
For what I’m thinking about. Maybe we don’t need to talk about how bad a situation is. By how I can deal with the problem myself. I need to put my hat into the ring. Talking is simply LARPing. If you’re not going to do anything about it. I think that goes for all of us. With social media, it is so easy to voice our opinions. Why the state of the world is this way or that way. The algorithms don’t help discussions to become more positive. But with all that, we must ask ourselves what are you going to do about it.
It can be as simple as giving money to a charity that help solves the issues you’re talking about. Or something major like founding a company to fix an issue directly. This reminds me of the concept of skin in the game. When talking we simply don’t have skin in the game. As nothing good or bad is going to happen by voicing our opinions. But when we put our money where our mouth is. By donating to charity. To volunteer our time to fix the issue. Then we have a lot more to lose or win. And are putting tangible actions into place, to deal with the issue.
Lots of the issues I talked about is a lack of skin in the game. Our voice boxes do not match our actions. So, we need to bridge that gap. It is not easy as Roosevelt said but it is more fulfilling and it’s great to put a dent into the world.
“The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena” said Teddy. We must try to enter that arena as much as possible. Sometimes we will get punched, kicked, spat on. But it is all worth it to push for a more fulling life. Helping others and making the world a better place. All this is not easy. We can simply go watch Netflix and YouTube and vegetate on the couch. But doing the hard things or having a strenuous life in teddy words. Makes life better for you and everyone around you.