The Arena – Theodore Roosevelt

Yesterday I was sitting in the waiting area of the tire & oil change station. It was one of those way too small rooms, with the smell of burnt coffee and an old small TV that everyone watches but can’t change the channel. The channel was on ESPN 2 or something and they were showing some skateboard competition.

I really wasn’t paying too much attention – I was using their terribly slow WiFi to get something productive accomplished. (AKA: I was playing on my phone.)

Anyway, this old man who was 60-80 pounds overweight & hadn’t done anything athletic for at least 10 years has the audacity to tell the clerk that some of the “athletes” on the TV are really terrible. That they shouldn’t be there. That HE could do better than those guys.

The clerk jumped right in and agreed. Two guys who probably couldn’t stand up on a skateboard to save their lives, were criticizing guys attempting tricks that, when done incorrectly, put people in the hospital!

I just shook my head.

I mean these guys were on ESPN in some kind of X-games competition. I don’t care if it was the last place guy in the event – he was STILL THERE. He was still chasing and living his dream.

He still practiced daily, won qualifying events, had sponsors, competed on TV, and made some money doing it.

That grumpy, jealous, old man and the clerk just don’t get it.

There are TONS of people like that in this world.

We call them critics. Or haters.

Unfortunately, we can’t make them stop. We can’t silence them. They will always be sitting in their armchairs offering their opinions. But much like a terrible song on the radio, we can choose not to listen.

Don’t listen to them. Don’t let their negativity stop you from being great.

Any asshole can buy a ticket, sit in the stands, and be a critic.

Their reality is much harsher however. Their jealousy, bitterness, and sour attitude stems from their own unrealized potential.

Don’t be that guy. Don’t let that guy’s opinion prevent you from chasing and realizing your own destiny.

The whole thing reminds me of the quote from Teddy Roosevelt, “The Arena”: