Winston Churchill’s Secret Of Success
In my study of incredibly successful people, I have found that all of them display the characteristic of perseverance. Winston Churchill displayed perseverance throughout his long life. He did not become Prime Minister of England until he was 62 years old, after a life of set-backs, both personal and professional. He galvanized a nation during the dark days of World War Two as Nazi war planes dropped bombs on London.
In the early part of the war, Poland, the Netherlands, and Belgium surrendered to the seemingly invincible power of the Nazi war machine. In May of 1940, the British and French forces suffered a devastating defeat in the Battle of France. It was obvious that France would soon surrender to Nazi Germany. On June 4, 1940, Churchill gave an incredibly inspiring speech that was broadcast on the radio to the British people. He assured the British people that they would continue fighting, regardless of the cost. With great conviction, he declared:
“We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on
the landing grounds. We shall fight in the fields
and in the streets. We shall fight in the hills;
We shall never surrender.”
Almost 16 months later, Winston Churchill was called upon to address the graduating class of Harrow School, a prestigious High School in England. This was the very same school he had graduated from many years before. Winston had not been a good student. One of his teachers had written on his report card:
“Winston has a conspicuous lack of success.
He probably won’t amount to much.”
On one occasion, a reporter asked Churchill what had prepared him to lead England during the dark days of World War Two. He replied, “The two years I spent in 7th grade.” The report asked, “You failed 7th grade?” Winston replied, “No, I was given another opportunity to succeed.”
As the headmaster of Harrow School introduced Prime Minister Churchill, he said, “Young men, be sure to take copious notes, this will probably be one of the greatest speeches you’ll ever hear.” As it turned out, it was certainly the shortest speech.
Churchill walked slowly to the podium. He looked at the students with great intensity. It was October 29, 1941 and the battle for Britton was underway. Winston knew that many of these young men would soon be serving in the military and would need immense courage for the battles ahead. He made a few preliminary remarks and then with great emotion said:
“Never Give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never,–in nothing great or small…Never give in,
except to convictions of honor and good sense.
Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”
Then Churchill turned and quietly sat down. His speech had only been about two minutes long. That’s all the time he needed to share his philosophy. His philosophy would help him lead the English people to victory. On another occasion, Churchill said:
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”