Inspiration from Sir Winston Churchill
Estimated Lesson Time: 2 minutes
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill (1874-1965) was one of the twentieth century’s most important figures, best known as Britain’s Prime Minister from 1940–1945 and 1951–1955.
Success is knowing that your past does not equal your future. Winston was known to be a willful and somewhat rebellious little boy. His teachers wrote in letters how difficult he was, one teacher even writing, “Very bad... is a constant trouble to everybody...”
Success is progress. “Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb.”
Success is keeping your family life in order as well as your work. In 1908, Churchill married Clementine Hozier, which proved to be a long and happy marriage.
Success is knowing that effective communication is better than proper grammar. When corrected for using a preposition at the end of a sentence, Churchill gave the oft-quoted response, “This is the sort of English up with which I will not put.”
Success is viewing failure as temporary. Being human, in 1914, Churchill made an error in judgment that lead to the disastrous Gallipoli landings. This error cost Churchill his job as First Lord of the Admiralty and much of his good reputation. • “Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.”
Success is having courage. “One ought never to turn one’s back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it. If you do that, you will double the danger. But if you meet it promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger by half.” • “Success is never final. Failure is never fatal. It is courage that counts.”
Success is being able to inspire others. Churchill’s role in World War II was mostly that of an inspiration. He is known today as one of the greatest speakers of the century.
Success is persistence. “We shall not fail or falter; we shall not weaken or tire... Give us the tools and we will finish the job.”
Success is being optimistic. “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”
[Sources: http://www.biography.com, http://www.nobel.se]
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Some discussion questions (some may not apply to this lesson):
- Have you implemented this idea in your life? How has it been working for you?
- Do you have any interesting stories related to this lesson? Do tell!
- What do you admire most about this person? (success biography days)