It’s Not the Critic Who Counts

A few years ago I learned the hard way that life is a journey that doesn’t always trend in one direction (up). I came across a (rather famous) quote by Theodore Roosevelt that served to help me get past my failure at the time and move forward.

Going through these past few months, watching Candl fall apart and being helpless to stop it from happening, there were moments I just didn’t want to get up and face the day.


“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, Spoken in France April 23rd, 1910

But going back to this quote helped. At least I’m not on the sidelines, laughing outwardly at the failed entrepreneur, while inwardly hiding my fear to wear their shoes.

I can say with certainty I gave my all, and sometimes that’s good enough, and sometimes it isn’t.

So when I face the blistering criticism from those who haven’t tried themselves to create something from nothing, their criticism no longer hurts. In fact I feel nothing but pity for those folks who haven’t dared to try something outside themselves.

Criticism from those who have lived in the ring, however, bites hard.

Entrepreneurship can be a difficult lifestyle, but then again, most lifestyles are hard in one way or another. Taking the safe path can leave you feeling disappointed later in life that you didn’t dare to do something great, and you’ll never know if you had it in you or not.

At least, if I can’t claim victory in this latest attempt to put a dent in the world, I can say I tried my best. And maybe I’ll try again too.