I share a birthday with Winston Churchill.
No Smartass, not the year, the day.
I was reminded of that great man a few years ago as I was listening to a long time acquaintance telling me that he had reached the end.
He had decided to give up.
After four tough years of trying to build his business he was going to lock the door and go home.
He’d had enough.
There was too much competition.
The economy was in the tank.
Nobody was buying anything.
It was never going to get better.
And as I listened I couldn’t help but think about that man, Winston Churchill.
Way back, on October 29, 1941, then Prime Minister Churchill visited Harrow School to speak to the students and in so doing, delivered one of his most quoted speeches that contained a few sentences that surely rank among the most powerful, compelling and inspiring words ever delivered.
He said, “… never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never-in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”
And as my friend continued telling me all his reasons for quitting I realized he wasn’t talking to me at all.
He was talking to himself.
I was merely a sounding board off which he could bounce his decisions in order to validate their correctness to himself.
He was using his time with me to convince himself of the wisdom of his choice.
When Winston Churchill uttered those words his country was at war.
And his enemy was a powerful force determined to conquer his country.
And, perhaps, when you’re at war, giving up is never an option.
But what about us?
What about in our own lives?
We’ve all had moments when we’ve wanted to quit.
Was our enemy a conquering army?
Did our enemy have “apparently overwhelming might?”
What was our enemy?
Was it fear?
Was it pain?
Was it pressure from others?
A devastating illness?
A financial nightmare?
A business disaster?
You see, when we give up we are not really removing ourselves from an untenable situation.
We are simply exchanging immediate pain and discomfort for a future filled with many unanswered questions.
And sometimes a part of us dies when we give up on a dream.
And we don’t have that many parts to begin with.
And, perhaps, worst of all, when we give up we will never know:
– how close we may have been to succeeding
– that we may have been only one day from success
– that we may have been one meeting away for the biggest business deal of our lives
– that we may have been two weeks away from the promotion we have wanted for so long
– that we were one final attempt away from quitting smoking
– that we were two days from discovering the weight loss process that we would stay with and finally achieve something that had eluded us for years
Yes, when we give up, we give up a lot.
Probably far more than we realize.
So we made the pain go away, and our lives a little easier.
In the short term.
But life exists in the long term.
And so I begged my friend not to give up, not to let his dream die, but to live with the conviction that success is not a question mark, it is a timeline.
Not a matter of if, but when.
And he decided to adopt Mr. Churchill’s viewpoint that victory was not AN option, it was THE option.
And he went back to his “war.”
And he struggled.
And he persevered.
And he hurt.
And he didn’t quit.
And another year passed.
And he “luckily” scored a major account.
And one more.
And today he has an enormously successful business of which he is very proud.
We had lunch this week and he told me his greatest sense of accomplishment is not from his new found wealth or the success of his business, or his new status in the community.
No! His proudest feeling comes from keeping ALL of his parts alive, not letting any die.
We should all aspire to achieve that goal.
Till we read again.
P.S. Please read “Blog 74. No more judging? Now what am I supposed to do?” and take the pledge. Challenge your friends to do the same. We are over 1,400 and growing and that goal of 10,000 is getting closer each week. Please do this. The reward is amazing.
P.P.S. I need your help. Last week I mentioned that a huge truck had backed up to my office and dropped off 3,000 copies of my book “Life Sinks or Soars – the choice is yours.” If you would like to buy a copy (or 2) please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will ship one to you or visit Self Connection at either their Bowness location or their store in Willow Park. You can also click here to order online.