Weakness, Struggle, Fear, Knowledge, Growth, Courage, Leader

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Theodore Roosevelt was one of the most remarkable men in the history of the world. As a boy he wanted the boldness of his father. As a child he wanted to be a naturalist, but as a teenager he wanted to get into politics. Once in politics he wanted power, and once in power he would change the world forever.

Theodore was a man of destiny, but in childhood his only destiny seemed to be death. From Teddy's birth, his small body was riddled with constant sickness, and poor health that brought death to his door on more than one occasion.

While Teddy was weak in body, he was strong in mind. He was constantly learning, reading, and self-educating. With his body sick and confined, his books and imagination provided limitless passage into the deepest, darkest jungles of his imagination where he waged epic battles against war like native's that inhabited his forbidden dark world.

His enthusiasm for nature and it's curiosities resulted in the creation of the "Roosevelt Museum of Natural History" at age 7, and his first literary accomplishment entitled, the "Natural History of Insects" was completed at age 9.

His mind recognized no boundaries, but his body was the perpetual weight that Teddy could never escape. During the summer of Teddy's 12th year, he was struck 3 times with debilitating asthma, and inescapable sickness rendering him once again under the care of a physician. Teddy's father made a decision based on a doctor's recommendation, that it was time to make a change. He called Theodore into the room and said, "You have the mind, but you have not the body, and without the help of the body the mind cannot go as far as it should. You must make the body." Teddy took on the challenge with a snarl, and a burst of enthusiasm exclaiming, "I'll make my body." And so he did?.

With Teddy's mind and body one, he attacked life and all it opportunities with boundless energy, enthusiasm, and discipline. He worked out with weights, became an avid boxer, hunted, rowed, and used all his might to make his body. With his education complete and his hat in the political arena; Teddy's career began to rocket towards inevitability. But not before he took a short departure from politics to take on Indians and cattle ranching in the Bad Lands of the Dakota's.

He experienced no shortage of adventures or hostilities in the Bad Lands. Wearing glasses in the Bad Lands were a sign of weakness, and any mention of the term "Storm Shudders" in Teddy's direction resulted in a "Put up, or shut up" show down. The hardened cowboys of the Bad Lands didn't offer respect to city folk as it was, and with Roosevelt being a politician, he was just that much further down the food chain. Expecting no "positional" respect, he used the same drive, discipline, and mental fortitude that he attacked all his obstacles with. He soon proved that he could ride 100 plus miles a day, stay up all night, and be back in the saddle 4 hours before daybreak. It was once documented that he was in the saddle once for over 40 hours, wearing out 5 different horses, and surviving two stampedes.

He believed in the pure good and evil of men, and he saw very little gray. His strong belief in justice, and a fearless attitude resulted in him being deputized to take on a band of thieving outlaws, which Roosevelt successfully tracked, and apprehended, and returned brought to justice at gunpoint.

Back in the real world, his leadership influence and political career continued to build momentum, and his trips to the Bad Lands became fewer and farther between. He was elected to be the police commissioner of New York, and was eventually appointed to be Assistant Secretary to the Navy.

His appointment was assisted by the knowledge of naval warfare he accumulated while researching, and writing his book, "The Naval War of 1812". He was 23 years old. Not only the most famous of his 38 books, it was considered on both sides of the ocean as the most authoritative complete textbook on naval warfare ever produced. By 1868, special regulation ordered that at least one copy be placed on board every U.S. Navy Vessel.

As the Assistant Secretary to the Navy, he used his influence and knowledge to drive the urgency around the modernization of the aging American fleet. He knew that only through complete military superiority, could true peace be assured. This was the beginning of his theme he would carry through the Presidency, "Walk softly and carry a big stick."

With tensions mounting for U.S. intervention in Cuba, Roosevelt made his intentions known that if war was declared; he planned on resigning to enlist in the army. For years he advocated a strong military. This was his chance to demonstrate he was not just full of talk, but was ready to take his beliefs to the battlefield. Although Teddy was offered the position as Colonel, he declined stating that he lacked experience, but would accept a Lt. Colonel position.

To Roosevelt's delight, the president issued an executive order to grow the 28,000 regular army by an additional 125,000. The order provisioned that the regiments "be composed exclusively of frontiersmen possessing special qualifications as horsemen and marks men". These men would soon be known as, "The Rough Riders". His time in the Bad Lands resulted in one of the most loyal followings any leader could hope for. He received over 23,000 applications, mostly addressed to him directly, asking to be instated into Teddy's "The Rough Riders". After his final selection process, his Rough Riders were comprised of Cowboy's and aristocratic blue bloods. Teddy's influence impacted everyone, and his followers were a reflection of his ability to connect to all types of people. Under his command, and guided by Roosevelt's leadership skill the "The Rough Riders" descended with great furry upon the coast of Cuba. Teddy finally had his battle and he was successful.

Upon his return, he campaigned for the Vice Presidency giving 673 speeches, and traveling more that 20,000 miles. Again his drive and energy could only be described as boundless. He was vice president for only 4 hours, before McKinley was subjected to an act of terrorism, immediately moving Teddy's into the most influential position in the world.

After a very accomplished presidency, his desire for more was always with him. In 1909 he traveled to Africa with the Smithsonian on a scientific expedition. A few years later in 1913, he co-led a team to explore the uncharted River of Doubt in Brazil. "It was my last chance to be a boy," he later admitted. He was fifty-five years old. Teddy's leadership style, and magnetic personality provided him "followers" that would follow him literally to the ends of the know earth.

Roosevelt's leadership traits were numerous, but he always had a special admiration for the men of great strength, discipline, and character who were not afraid to fight the good fight, fail and come up short again. His belief is summed up below in one of Theodore's most famous Leadership Quotes referring to a boxer.

"It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the area; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in worthy cause, who, at 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 know neither victory nor defeat."

On January 6, 1919 Theodore Roosevelt died in his sleep, with a book under his pillow. Then Vice president Marshall had this to say, "Death had to take him sleeping, for if Roosevelt had been awake, there would have been a fight!"

Aubie Pouncey has been a member of the team as a contributing writer. His strong beliefs in leadership development can be seen with his newest project,

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