What President Theodore Roosevelt Taught Us Thumbnail

This is probably going to sound like an extremely odd choice, but my hero is Theodore Roosevelt.  I am very interested in US history, politics, conservation/outdoor recreation and Teddy was a master at all of those things.  Along with all of those attributes, Teddy was able to overcome significant obstacles in his lifetime and rise to the pinnacle of world power: the President of the United States of America.

There are many attributes of the former presidents that I admire very much, but to keep it short, I will discuss two.  The first thing that I admire about his is that he overcame a great deal of adversity through childhood.  The young TR was born into wealth to be sure, but was described as a ‘sickly’ child,  had asthma and was near sighted.  His father understood that he was needed to build up his body to be as strong as his mind, so Theodore set out to do just that.    He started boxing, lifting weights and living what he called “The Strenuous Life”.  Even after he had built himself up so he was no longer sickly, a doctor told him to take a desk job.  He responded by climbing the Matterhorn, and throughout his life believe that with hard work, focus and dedication, one can set aside problems and achieve great things.

I firmly believe, just as TR did, that if one works hard  and keeps trying, things will eventually line up for them.  The more that I read about how much Teddy did during his lifetime, the more I realize that I’m not working nearly as hard as he did.  One of the ways that he was able to accomplish as many things as he did was his ability to focus on the task at hand and work until the job is complete.  While I am able to do this on occasion, I struggle greatly with many times as well.  There are times when I’m working away, all of the sudden to be distracted by one little thing and find myself not back on task almost an hour later!  This is an area where I can (and should) make improvements.  There were many significant hurdles that he faced as a youngster, and was able to overcome them all with his motivation, desire and focus.

The second thing that I admire most is his service. Along with his tenure as president, He served as a State Legislator in New York, Governor of New York, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, and as a Rough Rider.  To Theodore, there was always something that could be done to benefit the lives of his fellow countrymen and women.  As a president, he fought for tighter regulations of industry (most famously the meat packing industry) and was the first president to talk about having health care for all Americans.

I admire his desire to make things better for those around him, and I try to do that in my own life as well.  While I have nowhere near as big of a pulpit as he did, I try to focus my efforts in two places: my community (the place I live) and the online community (through yakezie).  I feel like I have been able to do some good through both of these avenues, though I always feel like there is something more that can be done.

To become more like my hero, next year I plan on starting out with a list of goals, divided into different sections: Personal, Community, Work and Other.  Each of these areas will have projects that I’d like to complete, and when thinking about these projects, I plan to create a list of goals broken down into action steps that will allow me to complete the next step while focusing on the big picture.  This should keep me focused and on task with each of my projects.

Readers, any particular Presidents of the United States inspire you?  How is your ability to focus and stick to a task for the long term?  How do you think President Obama is doing?  Do you think he will get re-elected in 2012?