The history of America is filled with great leaders. Leaders that had vision, determination, charisma, and the ability to move people. Some were gifted speakers that moved people emotionally. Others infused a sense of purpose into people that got them to move physically.
The most prominent advocate of physical action was the barrel-chested Teddy Roosevelt. He encouraged Americans to endure physical hardships, his most pertinent advice was for one to partake in a strenous life. He despised laziness and those people that simply existed in the world without any pressing purpose. He foresaw the soft America of today and even sought out war against the Spanish in Cuba because he felt that America needed a kick in the right direction.
I wish to preach, not the doctrine of ignoble ease, but the doctrine of the strenuous life, the life of toil and effort, of labor and strife; to preach that highest form of success which comes, not to the man who desires mere easy peace, but to the man who does not shrink from danger, from hardship, or from bitter toil, and who out of these wins the splendid ultimate triumph. – Theodore Roosevelt
Many people know about the physical triumphs of one of our greatest presidents. He has numerous quotes about physicality, winning, and “carrying a big stick.” But what many people do not know is that he purposefully built his body. As a sickly young boy, he curled his lip and famously quipped, “I will build my body.”
He was so frail that his parents often dreaded his imminent death.
Yet he was able to transform himself into a barrel-chested, west winning, moose riding badass.
Theodore Roosevelt often shunned the niceties of the sprawling metropolitan areas of the East to live in the West as a Cowboy. He endured the hardships that came with life on the frontier. He could ride on horseback for days on end. He could hunt, fight, herd, navigate and thrived in a life devoid of modern conveniences. He was a man’s man, one that cultivated his own legend.
It is, however, easy for the details of his massive physical ascent to be lost in his long list of worthy exploits. He was, after all, a prominent author of 35 books, commander of the Rough Riders, and served as President of the United States for two terms.
Still, it is important to never forget his warnings against a life too comfortable and without physical action.
— Do not forget how he spent hours everyday building and shaping his body.
— Do not forget that he took up boxing, hiking, rowing, polo, tennis, and horseback riding after gaining acceptance into Harvard.
— Do not forget how he shunned the easy life in the East for the austere Western environment; the life of a cowboy.
— Do not forget how he led the Rough Riders in battle despite never receiving formal military training.
— Do not forget how he navigated the uncharted rivers of the Amazon, after his presidency.
And let’s not forget how he finished a 90-minute speech after getting shot in the chest.
“I have just been shot, but it takes more than that to kill a bull moose.” – Theodore Roosevelt
Do not forget his warnings against life without purpose and strain.