Brene Brown and The Arena App: Daily Planner

Author Brene Brown’s books have had a great deal of influence on our company, as well as the creation of The Arena App. Brown is a phenomenal scientist and communicator, and presents her data with a unique voice and compelling storytelling. We named our productivity app using the same Teddy Roosevelt quote that Brown chose for her novel Daring Greatly, and the ethos of the book is similar to that of Arena, in regard to the many different ways that both define being “in the arena:”

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the 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 neither know victory nor defeat.” (Roosevelt 1910)

We chose the name Arena because Roosevelt’s point about “being in the game” resonated with us, especially in regard to leaving everything from your day on the field. That notion of being in the arena is exactly what Arena is about: Working through your commitments, no matter what. Doing what matters every day. Knowing that you’ve done your best and left everything on the field. And, best of all, feeling peace about what did, and didn’t, happen that day. Alternately, Brown chose Daring Greatly for her book, as she felt it completely summarized her research into why we find being vulnerable such a difficult thing to do. (May 2012)

Several of Brown’s books focus on vulnerability and how important it is to be vulnerable in all aspects of your life. With The Arena App, we ventured into unknown territory (app development), using well-researched information (daily planners/task managers and how people use them), and came out on the other side, not knowing how this thing we made would be received.

Our company as a whole took a chance on something new in order to grow. Whether we succeed or fail, we will learn along the way for the next time we venture into unknown territory. Similarly, we love hearing from users who are using the app to explore and execute their own big adventures and bold ideas:

“Part of me knows what needs to be done, while the other part actually does stuff…and somehow the two parts are never in the same place at the same time. This app is the Arena that somehow lets those two parts of me collaborate – like it manages to gamify my productivity goals in a way that my split brain halves can both appreciate and play with.” (AdanApple, Arena user)

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May, Kate Torgovnick. “5 Insights from Brené Brown’s New Book, Daring Greatly, out Today.” TEDBlog (blog), September 11, 2012. Accessed July 10, 2018.

Roosevelt, Theodore. “Citizenship in The Republic.” Speech, The Sorbonne, Paris, France, July 10, 2018.