Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Our new shirts, and the quote inside them.

I was talking on the phone with a man named Vance the other day. He is about twenty years older, and a veteran business man. I have been given the gift of receiving a few of his thoughts and insights in business and life to me at various times over the last few months, and one of his comments has really stuck with me. It was about when you receive wisdom, don’t envy the wisdom for the man who brought it. Because that wisdom came at a cost. A price was paid to understand it. It was told to him by a mentor, the late Brent Curtis who co-wrote a book that changed my life back in ’01, called The Sacred Romance. Wisdom is not free for the man who birthed it.

Isn’t it true? Wisdom comes at a cost. There is insight or “knowledge,” we can learn that from books. And it can be obtained in the head, but wisdom, that is a much different beast. It comes through experience. Much of that being through hardship and pain. Wisdom comes with age, and experience, and a life well lived.
All that to say, it gives some backdrop to think of when you read what Theodore Roosevelt shared in a speech through these 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 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 and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for 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 he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."

I get the sense, to pen those words, and to give this to a speech of onlookers, it wasn’t just crafty ideas. Or great academic though. It came from a much deeper place, because Teddy had lived this out. This wisdom came out of his own story, stepping through adversity, and struggles, and failures, deaths in his family, from his new wife, and mother. He had overcame health issues as a child. The words came at a personal cost. And yet, that is why they are here today. They are worth their weight in gold.

We have put this quote in all of our new shirts coming out. So, why do we think they should inspire us, and why Buffalo and Company is putting inside all of our t-shirts, polos, and henley’s?

Because we don’t need a yacht symbol to inspire us anymore. Not some sunset on a beach. Or a pink shirt. We don’t need some symbol or company that takes us away from all of life’s problems, or by their models, promises to remove all the difficult. What we need is inspiration to step into them. From our fears, our entitled lives, our privileged upbringing, to risk, and to love, and to be willing to go through it, not around it. To step into the sweat, and the tears. And risk daringly.
So, we are proud of Mr. Roosevelt. We honor his life that lived this quote out. And inspire those to consider that lifestyle for their own. May Roosevelt inspire you. May he take you to a river. Maybe even out west.

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