Every accomplishment is based on action, not on thought... yet the thought is always father to the deed. Achievement starts with an idea, a perspective, a point of view, and an attitude: the attitude that no matter what, you will do what it takes to reach your goals -- and live the life you want to live.

To do that, here's one affirmation you should repeat at the start of every day. It's referred to as "The Man in the Arena" and is an excerpt from this 1910 Teddy Roosevelt speech.

I first heard it on the new television series The Selection: Special Operations Experiment that airs on Thursday nights at 10 p.m. on History. (A couple weeks ago I talked to Ray Care, one of the instructors, about things you should do if you want to push yourself to greater heights.) In an extremely powerful moment, one of the participants suffering through the training -- because it definitely is a suffer-fest -- recited "The Man in the Arena" at the end of the third episode.)

Try it. But don't just read it to yourself -- read it out loud. Stand tall. Stand proudly. Don't just say the words -- feel the words:

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.

The best way to be different is to do the things other people refuse to do.

The best way to life the life you want to live is to stop worrying about what other people think.

The best way to succeed is to outthink, out hustle, and outwork everyone else.

You may not be as experienced, as well funded, as well connected, or as talented... but you can always do more than other people are willing to do. Even when everything else seems stacked against you, effort and persistence can still be your competitive advantages -- and they may be the only advantages you truly need.

Dare greatly. Know victory. Know defeat.

And every day, commit to living the life you want to live.

Published on: Dec 28, 2016
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