Life’s not Perfect. Be “The Man in the Arena” anyway.

Life isn’t perfect. 

Is it just me or has there been a lot of publicity lately about people who “got things wrong”, or situations that “aren’t resolved correctly”? 

Are we being dictated to by a noisy minority? Or if not dictated to, at least bombarded!

In the age of omnipresent social media, where most of what we say and do is somehow recorded either consciously or unwittingly, “incidents” are often transmitted to a potentially global audience either as they happen or within minutes. 

An airline experiences scheduling disruption ;  irate passengers “launch” on social media about what a terrible experience they have had. 

A referee in a rugby game calls the play as he sees it in real time and sticks by his decision ; fans climb into him for his incompetence after they have had the benefit of multiple slow motion replays. 

A sportsman makes a comment in the heat of the moment at a press conference having just completed an event that was decades in the making ; “the public”, from the comfort of their living rooms and from behind their keyboards, berate him for being “insensitive”. 

The list could go on. 

Surely in life there is room for us all to have differing views, accept that sometimes things don’t go to plan and work on the assumption that, in general, people are setting out to do their best? 

Where is the headline that says “ Airline operates 99% on time”?

Why does the match review not say “Referee made 36 calls in the game – 35 of them were correct”. 

The press conference summary acknowledges “ Sporting triumph after decades of effort”. 

Life isn’t perfect. There are, and will be, ups and downs. 

Weather will interrupt travel plans, match officials will make calls we don’t agree with and don’t we all say things in the heat of the moment that we might say differently with the benefit of hindsight? 

As Theodore Roosevelt so eloquently put it, referring to “The Man in the Arena” in 1910 in this excerpt from the speech “Citizenship in a Republic” : 

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. 

If you are out there having a go then I salute you. 

Life isn’t perfect. 

It’s not the critic who counts. 

Be “The Man in the Arena”.