In the Arena

“You cannot be a maverick or a true original if you are too concerned with breaking the rules.”

Today was an incredibly thought-provoking day for multiple reasons. But I’m going to jump right into the main one. Never apologize for being you. What I thought about today took a lot of effort and time on my part. It was far deeper and more introspective than I usually am. We each have unique things about us that define us to our core. Love, Passion, Never Quit has been something I have said to myself every single day, multiple times a day for almost a year now. Sometimes, these three characteristics may be misconstrued by on-looking eyes. But it’s really not about that is it? Because no matter what you do, you will be seen one way or another for everything that you do. That is a part of life. There will always be critics out there, that will tell you this or that, you are not good enough, you are not man enough, you are not something enough…but the difference between the man in action, learning from mistakes, correcting wrongs, and challenging himself every single day, and the critic…is that the man in the arena will see victory and defeat, will know the pain and suffering it takes to get to where he wants to be…but will taste the sweetness of glory when he succeeds in achieving what was embedded in his mind when he took the first steps. The critic…will never taste any of it.

“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.” – Theodore Roosevelt

A year ago, I set out on a journey to achieve something. I set out to not just be a man, but to stand for an idea. To stand for other people’s greatness, to stand for the power of the heart, and to stand for the power of dreams. I devoted myself to these ideals, and have not sacrificed my purpose for anything. I have loved as deeply as I ever had, I have reached out to those in need and helped them get back on their feet again, and I have not only realized my own dreams…but I have stood for the dreams of others. This is the man I am. This is the man, who I set out to be one year ago. It didn’t happen overnight, and I’m still not done…not even close. However, I will celebrate victories when I can start to see the effects of my hard work. I have failed many times…in fact, ever since I started this journey, I have failed more than I ever have before. But that’s how I know I’m getting closer. The amount of times I fail at something has nothing to do with the end result, it only means I am finding ways not to do things. I am learning from this life’s greatest teacher.

Put yourself on the line for people every single day. Be that rock for someone who needs it. But remember, arrows will fly your way. If you let them, they can stick you. But if you have that iron will and warm heart, they will only ricochet off of what it in your fearless heart. Many things have been said about me throughout my life, but there are a couple of things that no one can take away. They will never be able to say that he didn’t put his heart into it, that he wasn’t passionate about every minute of life he was given, and that he quit.

I will never quit on this journey, this chance I have been given. I will never stop loving the people around me and those who I have had the opportunity to spend time with, and I will never let my passion for life drain out of my soul. These are things that define me, and without them, I am lost. They make my decisions for me, they tell me to speak my heart when I feel that I need to, and they make me go out of my way to let other people know I care. Everything after that is out of my hands. And as I have said many times before, the true test of your character is when you look into the mirror at the end of the day, and you don’t have to ask yourself who you were that day, because you lived exactly how you wanted to live…with love, with passion, with fearlessness.

Evan Sanders


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  • SomeGirl
    July 20, 2012 at 8:05 pm


    Every day you inspire those around you with your consistent developing frame of mind and perspective on life. An event occurs whether it be something that actually happens to you, one you see in the distance, or one you imagine in your mind and you literally take in the event to your soul. You magnify each angle whether it’s physical, emotional, or both and develop a positive way to think about the situation, learn from it, and write the perspective in your own stunning cadence. I know a lot of people have gained from your intuition, introspection, and development and I cannot wait to read a compilation of your work, life, and passions. You truly are a better man.

    <3 L.

  • thewardanceofthemindandsoul
    July 21, 2012 at 1:36 am

    Hi Evan,
    I try not to see failure as failure any more, as it is so disabling. Instead I try to look at what works and what doesn’t. If something doesn’t work out the first time, it may do so during later attempts. If something doesn’t work out how we want, maybe it’s not meant to be. If something doesn’t work out how we want, sometimes we need to do something differently to get the results we desire. I guess the whole point is to keep trying, as you so eloquently say. As if we give up after not giving our ‘all’, we may never find what we seek. Well done for your efforts and thanks for your inspiring words!

  • sharinhislove
    July 22, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    Just to let you know how you inspired me today. I want to read and re-read your message, as it will help me greatly to apply the truths you write about. Thank you so much for writing from your heart. Blessings, Sharon

  • David Berg
    July 23, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    Reading your post reminds me of the lyrics to a Micheal English song from a number of years ago. Forgive the length, but I think you’ll appreciate the words. Thank you for yours.

    Running away from the ties that bind, I thought I’d find freedom; escape from real life. But I learned the lonely roads that promised liberty were their own kind of prison, they all led back to me. But when I let love tie me down to my suprise I found:

    I’m free. I’m finally free to give something back, to live what I believe and love, love you honestly because I’m finally free of me.

    Making a place where I’d feel secure, I thought I’d be happy now I’m not so sure. But there’s a voice that calls me on for the greater good, that I’d make a difference if only I would. And when I risk this life I’ve made for someone else’s gain

    I’m free. I’m finally free to give something back, to live what I believe and love, love you honestly because I’m finally free of me

    I’m free to dream for your success and work to see you be your best. I’m free to play the lesser role, give up my need to have control. I’m free to trust you with my heart, to take a chance and drop my guard; to make a promise and be true to bind myself to you, and when I bind myself to you

    I’m free. I’m finally free to give all I have, to live what I believe and love, love you honestly because I’m finally free of me