Teddy Roosevelt was The Most Interesting Man in the World long before the Dos Equis guy from the commercials was around!
Before people even knew how to speed-read TR would devour at least one book during his very busy day and many times up to three books a day. He also possessed a photographic memory or close to it and could recite passages years later and discuss topics from the books at length. Here he is reading with his dog. I love this picture.
Ornithologist, Taxidermist, Aristocrat, Explorer, Speed-Reader, Naturalist, Pugilist, Harvard Grad, Biologist, World Traveler, Historian, Martial Artist, Author (35 books), Husband, Cowboy, Big game Hunter, Father, Conservationist, Assemblyman, Police Commissioner, Naval Secretary, Soldier, Colonel, Governor, Nobel Peace Prize and Medal of Honor winner, Vice President, and President; TR was a super-energetic, charismatic, learned, and dynamic personality.
Anyone can learn a lot from studying and emulating Teddy. I don’t really have the time to go into so many of the lessons that could be gleaned from the man’s life but I will just list a few and, of course, keep them dog specific (as in, our excellent blog will always help you concerning the topic of dog behavior).
Be a life-long learner
TR was an avid learner and obviously, as you read from his list of accomplishments above, his learning far surpassed the average individual He was a voracious reader and could speed-read before people even knew that was a thing. He also had a photographic memory. This allowed him to discuss with confidence a broad range of topics and mix in with almost any individual person or crowd. Roosevelt also learned physically from experiencing the earth and travelling, hunting, fishing, exploring, hiking, boxing, judo, camping, and ranch work. He was a dandy man about town but also could easily fit in with the simple ranch-hand, cowpoke, or backwoods hunter.
The main point is to keep learning and discovering. Teddy wasn’t just book smart he was physically smart as well. When he took up the challenge from his father of transforming his sickly body as an asthmatic youth he persisted until he literally became a “bull moose” of a man! His brain and body then could function as one well-oiled machine, bursting with personality and passionate energy.
“With self-discipline most anything is possible.” -TR
Keep learning from your dog and not just jumping to conclusions or listening to the status quo about how to train. Don’t just take whatever your vet or trainer says as gospel truth. Learn from mother nature and remember to lead your dog with energy and physical vigor (like Teddy would). Be open to experience the natural world. Get outside and into the woods. Slow down at certain times. Speed up other times. Your dog will find it irresistible. Be the sort of leader your dog can follow. Physically take the lead and be energetic about it when needed.
TR had mental toughness. TR had physical toughness.
Did you know in Teddy’s personal daily journals that he hardly ever recorded a negative thought? He could have easily written down the wrongs someone may have done him while he was serving to clean up a very corrupt New York government as their Police Commissioner but he didn’t. He could have written so much about the tragedy of losing his first love and wife (Alice) just after the birth of their first child. His mother also died on the same day as his wife! What a horrific tragedy! TR kept everything under wraps if it had any discouragement or downside. He had mental toughness. He wrote his journals as if he was sure others would read them one day! Of course he was crushed mentally and emotionally at the loss of his young, beautiful wife and his caring mother on the same day but I love the fact that he would prefer to focus his writing and his life on what could be done for the good of his family, his city, his state, and his country. How mentally tough are you?
TR was also renowned for his physical toughness. As he matured more he kept developing his body into a real vehicle for all his energies and passions. His stamina is legendary. Although he was a New York aristocrat he could physically keep up (and usually surpass) many rough and tumble athletic woodsmen, frontiersmen, ranchers, cowboys, soldiers, hunters, sportsmen, and martial artists.
As President TR lost the vision in his left eye when boxing with a military aid in the White House! The punch had detached the retina, caused severe hemorrhaging, and eventual blindness. Roosevelt was 50 years old at the time!
Roosevelt also was a skilled judo practitioner. During his years in the White House he lined the basement with training mats and used to throw around anyone who was willing! He became America’s first brown belt!
“It is only through labor and painful effort, by grim energy and resolute courage, that we move on to better things.” -TR
Are you going at your dog’s behavioral issues like TR would? Are you staying positive mentally? Are you physically imposing in your presence if the dog is trying to dominant the space or do you just let the dog have his way? Are you up for the challenge? Do you look at the dog’s issues as an opportunity to teach your dog and to better understand your dog or are you just beaten down with the behavioral problem?
Fight for what you want
Teddy loved a good fight it mattered not whether it was a physical opponent, a political foe, or taking on the ultra-capitalists as the “Trust-buster.” He is well known for never shying from an opponent and he subscribed to what he called the strenuous life. He toiled on purpose to push his body and mind to greater achievements. Boxing, polo, hiking, rowing, horseback riding, jujitsu, judo and winter skinny dipping in the Potomac River all against doctor’s orders!
Take the challenge of working with your dog! Choose the strenuous life! Take a moment and read The Man in The Arena.
“Speak softly and carry and big stick; you will go far.” -TR
TR had an amazing wealth of knowledge when it came to animals and the natural world.
Control and focus your energy
Roosevelt had boundless energy. I’m positive he would have scoffed at the Five Hour Energy commercials we see on TV. Almost all successful folk know how to really direct and focus their energy on the task at hand. TR was able to do this brilliantly. It can be seen throughout his entire life’s story. Teddy’s was a life defined by charismatic energy, a ready mind, toughness, and his fantastic adventures and accomplishments. To achieve a life like this we must consider concentration, and direct focus and control of our own personal energy and then mix it with ACTION.
“Great thoughts speak only to the thoughtful mind, but great actions speak to all mankind.” -TR
Focus and controlling your energy takes practice. Practice makes perfect. You want better control over your dog or puppy? Seek out better control of your own energy. Concentrated energy applied directly with laser like focus is a powerful thing. As you learn to control and direct your own energies all the dog stuff will become simple!
Ted and his terriers. Terriers are known for tenacity, energy, voracity, and a warrior spirit. Many terriers are small but extremely tough. They are bred for hunting, digging, and fighting and killing their quarry even if their prey is much larger than they are!
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