Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) is one of my favourite historic figures and this is my favourite quote. Roosevelt was a naturalist, ornithologist, cowboy, conservationist, ranchman, war hero, writer, hunter and politician. Growing up, Teddy was severely asthmatic, too scared to play outside and would instead spend all his time reading. Finally, his father told him to ‘man-up’ and overcome his physical frailty through will power and mental toughness. Theodore not only overcame his asthma, he went on to embrace what he called ‘the strenuous life’ – a life filled with physical activity, adventure and action. He had a fierce intellect as well, writing several books, mediating wars, winning political duels and oh yeah … he was the US President for 8 years too. Although he was by no means perfect (he was a warmongering jingo during his early life), Teddy has probably led the fullest and most action-packed life of anyone I’ve ever read about.

– This quote was only part of the speech Roosevelt delivered in Paris in 1910. It was reprinted in papers around the world and was later named The Man in the Arena and sold as a pocketbook.
– Fun fact 1: The Teddy Bear was named after Teddy Roosevelt.
– Fun fact 2: In his Ranchman days in the badlands of North Dakota, Roosevelt became good friends with Seth Bullock, who was the main character played by Timothy Olyphant in one of my favourite shows, Deadwood.
– This quote is the only one I’ve ever printed and stuck on my wall.
– Who’s the historic figure you admire most and do they have any great quotes that inspire you? Maybe I can adapt them into a Zen Pencil.