Kiado-Ryu Karate

Mar 1, 2021 - Feature of the Week

President Theodore Roosevelt - Inspirational Quotes

Theodore “Teddy,” “Rough-Rider” Roosevelt became the 26th President of the United States at age 42, serving in that role from 14 September 1901 to 4 March 1909 upon the assassination of President William McKinley. Ascending to America’s highest office, Roosevelt was and remains the youngest President in American history.

Roosevelt, known by his initials “T.R.,” was, to use the vernacular, a tough dude, a man’s man. He struggled with asthma in his youth. In his adult years his first wife and mother died on the same day in 1884. Rough-Rider Teddy garnered status as an American hero during the Spanish-American War of 1898 and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1906 for brokering an end to the Russo-Japanese War.

In fact, Roosevelt’s stature garnered him a place literally carved in stone. He is one of the four United States Presidents honored by having their busts engraved in the granite rock of Mount Rushmore, South Dakota, along with Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln. Obviously, the “Rough-Rider” President was tough in many ways, ways which not only formulated his character and personal ethos but immortalized him on, arguably, the most famous “statue” in American history—Mount Rushmore.

President Roosevelt left behind a litany of famous and memorable quotations. Four are mentioned here to serve as building blocks of character, whether one is a martial artist or not.

Perhaps Roosevelt’s most famous quotation is:

Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.

The next two quotes, the substance of which were generated right out of his own life’s playbook, address having a difficult life versus an easy life. They’re poignant reminders of what it is to be a substantive human being.

Never throughout history has a man who lived a life of ease left a name worth remembering.


Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty. I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.

And regarding victory and defeat:

Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.

A lot to think about, to be sure.