Theodore Roosevelt

A few weeks ago, I had used a line that most people would have thought, “Oh, that was Teddy Roosevelt…”

Do what you can, with what you’ve got, where you are.

Not Theodore Roosevelt

Yep, not Teddy Roosevelt.

But he said it! It’s in his autobiography! Yes, yes, yes, it’s in the autobiography. But if you want to know who first said it, that has been lost to the pages of history apart from being stated by Roosevelt in Chapter X of his autobiography, The Presidency; Making An Old Party Progressive.

He, himself, wasn’t attributing it to anyone else in particular. He quoted somebody else, Squire Bill Widener of Widener’s Valley, Virginia, who, himself, was quoting a third-party altogether.

In a fuller context, the line was:

…the greatest happiness is the happiness that comes as a by-product of striving to do what must be done, even though sorrow is met in the doing. There is a bit of homely philosophy, quoted by Squire Bill Widener, of Widener’s Valley, Virginia, which sums up one’s duty in life: “Do what you can, with what you’ve got, where you are.”

Theodore Roosevelt, An Autobiography

Don’t make excuses.

Don’t seek a panacea.

Don’t wait until something.

Persevere.

Coming Soon?

Very possibly to be the view from the porch.

No longer a whistle-stop that you’ve probably never heard of. Still on one of the main heavy and passenger rail lines that cross Washington State.

Also, it is apparently not pronounced like the Española that you have heard of. Who knew?

Adjusting the Sails

See also, The Toolbox Fallacy.

I find that I often speak in metaphors. It’s not intentional, necessarily. Sometimes metaphor or a reference to a scene in a movie or a verse in a song or a story conveys meaning far better than a ten thousand words of my own.

Sometimes, just one borrowed line conveys appropriate meaning:

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.

Not Theodore Roosevelt

As another had remarked, it summarizes and strips away every excuse you have for not doing something.

So, why did I begin this with Adjusting the Sails?

I’ve found that when the wind isn’t going the direction I’d expected, hoped, or planned. It’s time to adjust the sails to weather the continuous metaphorical storms.

I’m adjusting my sails quite significantly and changing my course. I need a sense of meaning… a sense of purpose.

With shaken and shattered confidence in my career field, it’s time to pursue an alternate career.