I’ve always had a fascination with Winston Churchill. He is undoubtedly one of the GREATEST leaders of the 20th century, the reason England wasn’t invaded, and someone who overcame tremendous obstacles.
I grew even more enamored when I read William Manchester’s books, “The Last Lion”, of which there are three volumes. The forward in each of the books will make you want to read more, even though it is a great read of Churchill in itself. While I’m definitely not what would be considered an authority on him, I’ve read the Manchester books several times, and people that I’m associated with know that I love Churchill.
In fact, the first thing I bought with the first article I sold was a Cairn Statue of Winston Churchill by Thomas Clark, and it’s always in my office. My oldest daughter told me once, that is the only thing she wants when I pass away because she has always seen it in my office and it reminds her of me. She will of course get it, not only because I love her, but her telling me that anything of Churchill caused her to think of me… well that sealed it. Here is a pic of statue (although this isn’t mine, it is exactly like it. As I type this I don’t have a camera so it’s a web picture.)
Whenever I wonder if my promise of a payday will come I’m reminded of Churchill. Although he is considered the driving force of England during World War II and after, and even though he was part of the royalty of England, his father was Lord Randolph Churchill, not only by blood but by his associations, he grew up in a hard environment of his father, never had the love of a mother as a child would desire, had a physical impairment, saw his political star rise and fall, was considered a rat to his political heritage and as he put it a ‘re-rat’ when he switched parties again. He battled not only his own ambition, and fears, but his own opulent living that caused him for many years only a day or two away from bankruptcy. So here in the rest of this post are a few things I remember when I see Winston looking at me on my desk.
Overcome your own struggles.
Its always amazing to me that Churchill is considered one of the great orators of not only his generation, but all time! I have an LP vinyl of him giving speeches and his cadence and vocabulary are mesmerizing. There are many Youtube videos of his speeches. He did all this while having a lisp. He never let the fact of a speech impediment hold him back from communicating the incredible ideas that he had, or the belief that him making them could sway not only the public opinion but also those of his political friends and foes.
Early in his political career he never spoke with notes and was known for his quick wit, which could get him in trouble, and his ability to rattle off and debate the issue at hand. Once though when he stood to give a speech of importance his mind and thoughts left him, and he was humbled by the humiliating performance he had given. This was also caused by the fact that his father, Lord Randolph, who in his day had been a political power in English Parliment had began to lose his ability to speak with rapidity and force. His father was dealing with the terrible side effects of syphilis, but the fear that he could become his father and lose the power to communicate bothered him.
What did he do? He worked harder and wrote out every speech he would give and have them typed up in a booklet form so that he could keep the rhythm and cadence he was known for. He never did lose his ability to give a great speech even after having health issues later in his life. He didn’t stop in his goals, he overcame his own struggles. What do you struggle with today? Overcome it and let it a passion that fuels you to greater heights!
Decide on the life you want to live.
Possibly one of the most intriguing aspects of his life is that as a child he wanted to prove to his father that he would amount to something. Churchill struggled with math and it affected his ability to get into a prestigious college. His father decided the only course of life his son should take would be that of the military. So off to Military College he went…. barely making the grades he needed to enter and graduate.
He decided that the military would be a great advantage to him, because he wanted to have a political career, and glory on the battlefield would help him win a seat in Parliament. That was a bold decision knowing the dangers that are involved in the life of an Army officer. One of the greatest stories, and you’d swear it is made up or from a movie, is during the Boer War he’d become a War Correspondent. He learned early the joy of language and the power of writing to make money in the life he decided he wanted to live. A train that he was on was attacked, and as a correspondent he was forbidden to engage in combat. He nevertheless help fight off the attack and was captured. Being the son a prominent English family his name held great regard to the English enemies, and the fact that he was a non-combatant he was to be tried. He ESCAPED! Was helped by people and travelled 300 miles through enemy territory to escape to freedom. He had won his prestige and upon his return home, he won his seat in parliament!
Decide with daring the life you want to live, and better yet write it down!
Another person of history who intrigues me is General George S. Patton. One story of him is that when he was in his youth he was known for having the sense, “I should write these things down, so that when I become great….” He had decided on the life he wanted to live!
Look for options even when it seems you have none.
Churchill grew up in the families that were royal, and his associations personal and political were in the Conservative Party. In the years coming up to World War I he saw that reforms needed to take place in the political structure of the nation, but that the Conservative Party wouldn’t see them through, and he is considered a political opportunist for the fact the he foresaw the rise of the Liberal Party. Knowing that options for his advancement and growth political would be limited and also wanted to help enact reforms he one day became what he called a ‘rat’, and walked across the aisle of the Commons from the Conservative side to the Liberal side.
Churchill lost his political power during World War I, lost his position and influence because of plan that didn’t have the expected outcome (all this is in “The Last Lion – Book 1”); so he looked for another option and took a command in the British Army and served on the lines in Europe. That is staggering to me that what in the United States would be the Secretary of Defense would resign and go to the front lines and help fight the war. He did.
As World War II approached he was considered a ‘back bencher’ in the Liberal Party; those are the people who hold a seat in the commons but have no political power so they sit in the cheap seats. He saw the coming storm of Nazi oppression and warned his Nation against the tyranny of Adolph Hitler, but few would listen, especially those in the Liberal Party. So he reviewed his options and became again as he said a ‘re-rat’. He stood up and walked over to the other side of the House of Common and joined the Conservative Party.
When the government dissolved right after World War II started, he checked his options again, and knew that a government of only Conservatives would not work in the political climate of that day, so he formed a Coalition Government.
Do you feel you are out of options? You aren’t! There are always options on the table, and the greatest option you will always have within you till the day of your last breath is to live and fight for what want! What options are available to you now that you haven’t taken?
Do what you love, and find a way for it be profitable.
I’ve already mentioned that early in his life he found out the power of his pen and his ability to write. Many people don’t know that Winston Churchill won a Nobel Peace Prize for literature in 1953 ‘for his mastery of historical and biographical description as well as for brilliant oratory in defending exalted human values”. One of his notable works in the four volume set, A HISTORY OF THE ENGLISH-SPEAKING PEOPLES, and yes I have a copy of it!
He would work all day in politics and come home and write all night. He wrote in a strange way to some in his day, and that was by dictating to secretaries. He once tried an early transcription machine but had failed to operate it properly and when he learned that nothing had been recorded he stayed with his dictation to secretaries.
He wrote articles, biographies, novels, etc. He wrote not only because he loved doing so, but more importantly he needed the income to afford his lifestyle!
He found at an early age that he had a way with words and that people would pay him to write them. His writing became his promise of a payday, and not only did it provide him with the much needed money, it has blessed people with the historical and biographical stories that exalted human values. We are all better for him passionately pursuing his gift. His passion not only was profitable to him and his family, but also to you and me as we learn and glean from his writings.
What do you love? Can you use it so that it serves other people in a way that lifts their life? Of course you can and when you do it will provide for you and your family, and serve other people in the process.
There is a story that late in his life he was asked to give the commencement address for a college graduation. Everyone there that day was excited to hear the exalted wisdom of the man who is given credit for England’s solitary stand in Europe against Hitler. In the early days of the war, 1939 – 1940, the United States hadn’t entered into the conflict fully although we were helping England with supplies of food and war machinery. England during those dark days at one time had gotten within six weeks of running out of food for the people of England. England is an island nation dependent upon someone helping them, and there were times there wouldn’t be the assurance of United States involvement. Some of the Liberals said the Churchill should talk terms of peace with Hitler. What would the world look like today if he had given in to them.
That is the man that the College Graduation class wanted to hear from. What had given him his depth and fight during the dark days of uncertainty.
Churchill was in his later years and the crowd grew silent after his introduction. He walked slowly to the podium and paused to make sure that everyone would hear his words. When he felt they could hear with their full attention he gave his speech.
“Never… Never… Never… Never Quit!”
With those few words he turned and walked back to his seat. Everyone was quite for a short time, as they expected the usual long winded speech of pursuing your dreams or such. Then the revelation hit them, that those few words were the wisdom that had gotten him through the dark days of depression in his life, the dark days of near bankruptcy, and the dark days of World War II and the eventual battle with the Iron Curtain of Communist Russia!
Those words still ring true today for me and you!
Where ever you are in life… NEVER QUIT!
If you don’t have any money… NEVER QUIT!
If you don’t know what to do… NEVER QUIT!
Every day is new for me and you and only tomorrow hold the promise of a payday if we NEVER QUIT!
Find the resolve inside of you right now to work hard! Work smart! Find another avenue! Find another adventure! EVER QUIT!
Here is to you fighting the good fight!