On April 23, 1910, former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt delivered the “Citizenship in a Republic” speech at the Sorbonne in Paris. Within the speech, I find one of his most quoted items, which is included below.

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 them 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, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in 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 fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

I've used this quote a number of times in my own public speaking and like it greatly. The people on the sidelines that never take ownership, never try to get something hard done, are often the first to criticize. They describe—always after the fact—how they would do it better.

Don't be paralyzed by the fear of failure. Get in there and just try. It is better than doing nothing, as so many others will do. Ignore those that do nothing but complain. They are worse than those that try and fail. Learn and try again.

The same thinking applies to elections—particularly presidential. Don't stand on the sidelines. Neither candidate may be personally exciting. The question is not which do you like, get excited about, or completely agree with. The question is simply which would you rather lead the executive branch for the next four years. Don't stand on the sidelines spouting the logic that you "don't like either" so won't vote. Be an adult and choose.

As an adult, you have surely experienced many situations where you don't like any of the available choices but still must do something. Choose the best for you or the least bad option. Participate. Don't stand on the sidelines criticizing others.