Don’t be a critic, be “The Man in the Arena”

The last several weeks have been difficult.  The coming several weeks will be difficult as well.  One thing is certainly true though, the world is full of critics and EMS is no different.  Critics of every caliber, critiquing of the COVID 19 response has almost become a pastime.  Critics of this response or that, critics of this shortfall or that, critics of this decision or that.  Stop, just Stop.  Critics are those standing in the distance, wanting and hoping for a failed decision or a moment of weakness to present itself.  The critic stands on the sidelines and waits for the moment to pounce and maliciously critique.  Pathetic.  We develop this concept clearly in our book “Life and Death Matters.”  How easy it is to stand back and critique a decision rather than make a decision.  This especially in light of hindsight.  Again, pathetic.  We in EMS should be and are certainly comfortable and confident with making critical decisions with limited information.  The critic isn’t a leader, they lack the personal constitution to be an honest, confident, bold, and accountable leader.  How much should we in EMS be leaders instead of critics?  


President Theodore Roosevelt had a brilliant response to the critic and I quote:


“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 the 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 in 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.”  

Refuse to be the critic.  Refuse to be the one responsible for spreading malicious gossip.  Refuse to be the one that stands on the sideline watching and waiting to pounce.  These are fruitless endeavors and only serve to destroy one another rather than build up and develop one another.  Force yourself to be the “man in the arena.”  This is where leaders are forged, this is where leadership is molded and developed, IN THE ARENA.  This is where EMS providers are called to work, in the arena.  We are leaders, formal leaders.  Stop the critique and get in the arena.


The last thought as we consider this: WE ARE LEADERS in EMS.  Own the day and go out the door with INTENT.   

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