It’s Not the Critic Who Counts
The quote above was featured in a 2016 Daily Messages email from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It came at a perfect time for me as I had come to a fork in my road and was trying to decide which path to take. I loved the message so much I hunted down the talk. It’s called “Dare Great Things” and was given as a devotional at Brigham Young University-Idaho in 2011.
In the talk, Sister Dalton refers to one of her “top 10 favorite quotes” which is by Theodore Roosevelt. It reads:
“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 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.”
How incredibly inspiring is that?
A lot of my decisions take into consideration what others will think or say about it. Some of those people are my husband and daughters. Others include my ward leaders and members, my neighbors, my extended family, and my friends. And within that peripheral groups – the “others” – there are critics. And every now and again I let those assumed opinions from those critics bog me down and deter me from a path I feel called to pursue.
Our Callings Are Different
Recently, a blogger I follow on Facebook dealt with some nasty comments on the path she decided to share with her readers. (I didn’t see the comments, I just saw her responses to them. I’m no Drama Mama.) As I saw her handle the negativity and criticism with grace, I was inspired by what her supportive friend called and told her:
“Don’t mistake your calling for her calling. Your calling is not her calling.”
So often we allow others’ success and failures, criticisms and support direct our paths. Going back to my resolution of pondering the path of my feet I have found an immense source of peace, guidance, and sanity focusing, instead, on the eternal perspective, the eternal path that will take us where we want to be.
Dare to Be Great in All You Do
As a mother, it’s easy to feel restless and dissatisfied by all the many things that come undone every day. Here are some ways that you can dare to be great in the little and big things:
- Show kindness
- Take a gift to a lonely friend
- Write a letter to your grandparents
- Withhold criticism
- Give compliments generously
- Try a new hobby
- Take yourself seriously
- Don’t wince when you look in the mirror
- Be grateful
As we spend less time worrying about being great and just participate wholeheartedly in life, we will become the greatness we seek.