The keystone of the “strenuous life” is the possibility—and necessity—of choice.
What is a leader’s greatest legacy?
With the passage of time, even the greatest accomplishments can be forgotten or overtaken by subsequent events. What one generation reveres, another overlooks—or takes for granted.
Theodore Roosevelt was an individual of extraordinary, historic accomplishment. The construction of the Panama Canal, which linked the Atlantic and pacific, ensured America’s strategic significance in the 20th century and beyond. The protection of millions of acres of lands from ill-conceived development arose directly from his actions. And much more….
And yet, Roosevelt’s legacy is something larger, yet, perhaps more intimate in its reach. As TR often said of others, we ultimately revere people not for what they’ve done, but for what they are.
This is surely true of TR. His living legacy is his notion of the “strenuous life.” It was the foundation on which his life–and leadership–was painstakingly built.