Saturday marked 105 years that Theodore Roosevelt walked out of the Gilpatrick Hotel on his way to the Milwaukee Auditorium to give a speech to a packed crowd as part of his independent campaign for president. As he approached the venue, a fanatic rushed from the crowd and shot him. The bullet—a .38 caliber—hit Roosevelt in the chest but was miraculously slowed by the thick speech he had folded in his overcoat pocket and eyeglasses case (you can see the bloody case and glasses at the Theodore Roosevelt museum in New York City). His staff attempted to rush him to the hospital, but he refused, insisting on giving the speech instead.
It was a magnificent moment for Roosevelt. He walked on stage, quieted the crowd and said, “I don’t know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot—but it takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose.”
It seems almost inhuman, but in fact it was very human. Like a Stoic, Roosevelt had prepared his whole life for a moment like this. He lived for challenges and had built his body and his mind to not only survive challenges but thrive in the midst of them. And what he is capable of, you are also capable of—or at least your own version.
When something goes wrong, don’t be cowed by it. Don’t quit. Say to yourself, “It’s going to take a lot more than ______ to stop me.” Say to yourself: Amor fati. I love this. I am glad it happened. And I am going to turn this into an incredible moment that people are going to remember forever. (Maybe they will, maybe they won’t—but you’ll be better for thinking that way).
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