Start Time: 02:58
End Time: 07:38
Brené Brown—a researcher and storyteller—talks about her first encounter with online criticism and how a quote from Theodore Roosevelt inspired her to continue her creative endeavors in spite of critics.
Publish Date: Feb 19, 2021
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Brené Brown—a researcher and storyteller—talks about her first encounters with online criticism and how a quote from Theodore Roosevelt inspired her to continue her creative endeavors. The quote, popularly known as 'The Man in the Arena' sums up Roosevelt's belief that it is not the critic who counts, but the person brave enough to be criticized while daring greatly.
And so I did a Ted talk that went very viral. And in the wake of that, I was kind of everywhere for a couple of months on every CNN dot com NPR it was everywhere and something I wasn't used. Thio and the marching orders from my therapist and my husband where? Do not read the comments online. So I read all the comments online. And so one morning I woke up and there were two or three new articles out, and I started reading the comments and they were devastating. Um, they weren't about my work. They were about me. They were super personal. And they were the things that creative people play in their mind and then give up doing what they really want to dio like If I asked every single one of you, what would you try if you knew people would never say this about you? What would this be? There were Those were the comments that morning. Of course she embraces imperfection. What choice does she have? Look what? Look how she looks. I felt sorry for her kids. Less research. More Botox just mean personal attacks. The things that really up until that moment had inspired me to stay very small in my life in my career, just so I could avoid those things. So that morning, Stephen, the kids leave. I stay home, I get on the couch and I watched eight hours of downtown Abbey on When it's over, I don't want to turn off downtown Abbey because I then because the minute you turn off Downtown Abbey, then it's like soccer practice and dinner and back to the main people. And maybe, should I get no talks and maybe, you know, maybe if I stand still when I talk, um, so I get out my laptop and I do a search for who was president of the United States during the downtown Abbey era. Have you ever done that like you're numbing with TV or a movie? And so when it's over, you just like, stay in that space by like learning more about the actors. What's going on? I've been doing this long enough to know this is like you're laughing with me, not happening. So I put it in and Theodore Roosevelt comes up and a quote comes up and I read it, and this is what it says. It's a quote from a speech that he gave in the early 19 hundreds of the Sorbonne, and a lot of people called in the in the arena speech. And this is the passage that change changes my life. It's not the critic who counts. It's not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done it better. The credit belongs to the person who's actually in the arena, whose face is marred with blood and sweat and dust. Who at the best in the end knows the triumph of high achievement and who it worst. If he fails, he fails, daring greatly. So the moment that I read that I closed my laptop and this is what shifted in me. Three huge things first has spent the last 12 years studying vulnerability, and that quote was everything I know about vulnerability. It is not about winning, it's not about losing. It's about showing up and being seen. The second thing, this is who I want to be. I want to create. I want to make things that didn't exist before I touch them. I want to show up and be seen in my work and in my life. And if you're going to show up and be seen, there is only one guarantee, and that is you will get your ass kicked. That is the guarantee. That's the only certainty you have. If you're gonna go in the arena and spend any time in there whatsoever, especially if you've committed to creating in your life, you will get your ass kicked. So you have to decide at that moment. I think for all of us, if courage is a value that we hold, this is a consequence. You can't avoid it. The third thing, which really set me free, and I think Steve, my husband would argue, has made me somewhat dangerous is kind of a new philosophy about criticism. Which is this If you're not in the arena also getting your ass kicked, I'm not interested in your feedback period.