Recently I read a book on a historical leader I have always admired. Although it is disputed, the Soviet Union may have at least partially owed victory over the Germans to this man. He conducted continual bombings on German production sites thus limiting supplies to German troops in the East. He was also a faithful husband, painter, architect, soldier, career politician, prime minister, writer and maybe most notably an orator. He was also incredibly kind and never held a grudge. The man I am talking about is Winston Churchill.
I'm not going to dispense every detail on Churchill's life because that would take far too long and I'm not that knowledgeable. I merely want to focus on one aspect of his life. Oddly, his failures. As successful as Winston Churchill was, both as a leader and his many other trades, he was also an incredible failure.
That seems a strange place to focus, I know, but I feel that's where I've gleaned the most from Churchill. At a young age he was discounted by his parents because of poor grades in school. The man also had several failed elections, policies, and campaigns. BBC News ran an article reflecting back 70 years on the failed Churchill campaigns in both World Wars I and II which cost thousands of lives.
Later Sir Churchill, was extremely forgiving. He was forgiving not only of himself, but others. One of the first to embrace the German civilians who had suffered so much because of the bombings was Churchill himself. He wanted the German economy to be revived and he was saddened by the suffering he saw.
I now want to quote from Paul Johnson's "Churchill," pg. 164
"...Churchill never allowed mistakes, disaster-personal or national-accidents, illnesses, unpopularity, and criticism to get him down. His powers of recuperation, both in physical illness and in psychological responses to abject failure, were astounding."Another excerpt from pg 164
"Churchill wasted an extraordinarily small amount of his time and emotional energy on the meannesses of life: recrimination, shifting the blame onto others, malice, revenge seeking, dirty tricks, spreading rumors, harboring grudges, waging vendettas. Having fought hard, he washed his hands and went on to the next contest."
Understandably it is hard to appreciate Churchill's resilience without reading the book, which I highly recommend. However, I confide this is extremely difficult for me. Withe each failure, I know that I thrash myself and often quit trying. It is easy to have a defeatist attitude, especially concerning the many problems in the world that feel so far beyond our control.
Churchill said, "Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm." Are we doing that day to day? What do you guys think? I want to hear from everyone and thanks.