It’s not the critic who counts

I see this everywhere.

The commentators. Political, economic, sports, social, scientific. They all make a living from someone else’s ideas, work and sweat. Someone else’s years of work, preparations, and risk-taking. Austerities. And then exposing his or her creations to the world. The commentators can make or break your career. There are always more critics than the performers. Just enough to watch any ESPN shows on Monday, network news every day, and business channels after any stock market hiccup. They always know, and know better than the rest of us. During the COVID pandemic, we had more experts than people actually sick. Well, at least it seems this way to me. And they often contradict each other. You can have three doctors and could have five different opinions. They’ll tell you, as an author, grow skin as thick as an armadillo. Or have the armor of a medieval knight to resist all the slings and arrows. That’s just a part of the game, they say.

The most stunning fact is that these people make good money, sway the public opinion, and are never responsible for their actions. Never. After the major debacle, the very next day, they are back in the lineup, criticizing the same person. Or somebody else.

So, it heartened me to find this quote by Theodore Roosevelt.

“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.”

Ever since, I like him even more.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.