Theodore Roosevelt (1858 – 1919), the 26th President of the United States, was ambitious, aggressive, occasionally contradictory, always dynamic. He was a physical fitness enthusiast, soldier, cowboy, politician, explorer, conservationist, big game hunter, and writer. His unusual blend of talents and commitments resulted in a life of action which mirrored the emergence of America on the world scene in the twentieth century.
Attending Harvard University, this go-getter competed as a boxer and graduated at the top of his class. He was elected an assemblyman at the age of 23, the youngest member of the New York State Legislature, where he was a champion of municipal reform. When the United States went to war with Spain, he organized a regiment and led these ” Rough Riders” in the capture of San Juan Hill in Cuba. Returning home as a hero, he was elected Governor of New York. He was elected Vice President of the United States in 1900, and after President William McKinley was assassinated, he became the youngest President in American history, serving from 1901 – 1909.
Much of the physical and mental energy of Theodore Roosevelt went into his warrior ethic which was expressed when he said: “No triumph of peace is quite as great as the supreme triumphs of war.” Yet, on the other hand, this indomitable President used his passionate feelings for the natural world to introduce conservationist legislation he pushed through during his years in the White House.
To Name This Day . . .
“Passion is what disturbs and confounds the safe and the settled in your life,” writes Gregg Levoy in Vital Signs, as if describing the life of Theodore Roosevelt. “Passion is the impulse toward growth, which, by its nature, protests boredom and ennui, refuses to bump mindlessly along on the conveyor belt, and has little patience for the ‘been there, done that’ attitude that there’s nothing new under the sun. It is what stirs your interest in life, helping you awaken from the trances and entrapments of the everyday, which block the natural migration of your energies.
“Whether passion takes the form of colorful intensity or contemplative alertness, it constitutes to a vibrant life, a keen awareness of where the impulse is, and a determination to plug into that place. It helps you stay engaged with the world and enjoy it as a function of the primary calling of all creatures — maximum aliveness.”
Why do people with high energy and incredible pep impress those who work or socialize with them? Has this been the case with you? Who has inspired you most with his or her “maximum aliveness”? What practices have you tried which can deepen and enhance your zeal?