Cleese and Roosevelt's Message for Us
I have gotten a number of responses to my article, Man in the Arena. Teddy Roosevelt gave a speech at the Sorbonne in Paris on April 23, 1910, which was 105-years ago tomorrow. His address was entitled Citizenship in a Republic. Interestingly, few recall the speech except for one paragraph, which has been labeled Man in the Arena.
Emails that I received about that essay felt empowered to go back into life renewed knowing Roosevelt's truth that "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." I wrote that essay because I too felt emboldened to continue in spite of my mistakes, failures, and errors of judgment. If you and I truly accept Roosevelt's statement, it will allow us to move ahead in the world, regardless of the obstacles and setbacks that might lie before us.
While researching How Do We Learn, I happened across a comment made by John Cleese. Back in the day, I knew Cleese as a hilarious British actor and a part of the Monty Python group.
While my generation and many from other generations have loved watching and laughing at all of what John Cleese was able to do, he is more than a great comedian. Interestingly, I wrote to Cleese close to two decades ago. I was writing a book on how to be successful. Since he was very successful, he was on the list. I did not receive a letter back from him.
Nevertheless, one morning while getting ready to go to work, I got a call from England. Cleese was calling me to apologize for not writing a response to my question about success. He was doing some project that simply took most of his time. However, he wished me well. In a supportive manner without any humorous comments, Cleese said success comes from trying, and, even if one fails, that person needs to try again. Essentially, Cleese was saying what Roosevelt said, "...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." I have never forgotten that call from John Cleese.
Interestingly, when writing the essay on How Do We Learn, I happened across a quote from Cleese saying much the same thing. "Nothing will stop you being creative more effectively as the fear of making a mistake." Therefore, while you and I face tomorrow, recall what Teddy Roosevelt and John Cleese both have told us.
Visit John Cleese's website.
This is Life of Brian in which Cleese is the actor of five characters.
This Cleese's Ministry of Silly Walks.
This is Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
Visit the Man in the Arena page to read more about this topic.