When he addressed the Harrow School in October of 1941, during World War II, Winston Churchill looked across the crowd and said “Never, never, never give up!”
There are many famous quotes attributed to Winston Churchill, but this is one that especially motivates me. It reminds me to keep my focus where it needs to be. It is what I say to myself when I have a weak moment – when I’m thinking of picking up the phone and ordering pizza or talking myself out of getting on the treadmill.
Today is Winston Churchill Day – and, as such, I feel particularly inspired to pay homage to a man who’s life and wisdom have motivated me in such a positive way.
Winston Churchill was no stranger to issues buried deep in his childhood. He had a very distant relationship with his father and, having been born in a privileged family, rarely saw his mother. He didn’t do well in school. His father didn’t expect much of him and didn’t consider him particularly bright.
Churchill rose above his own adversity and ended up leading Britain through World War II. He gave the “Never give up” speech to the Harrow School just two months before the bombing of Pearl Harbor. In fact, he had a heart attack when he was visiting President Roosevelt at the White House in December of 1941.
He served in many distinguished positions in the UK during his amazing life.
On April 9th, 1963, President John F. Kennedy declared Winston Churchill an honorary citizen of the United States – which is why we recognize it today. Bet you didn’t know that, did ya?
When he died at the ripe old age of 90, the Queen of England attended his funeral.
Another Churchill quote: “Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” Amen!
I’m actually reading a biography about him right now. I was wasting time on Pinterest a few weeks back (shocker!) when I came across this quote:
That was the clincher for me. I already knew he was the one who said “Never never never give up” – but when I saw this quote, I thought “Who was this guy?” I downloaded his biography on my Kindle Fire and, except for a brief stint when I plowed through all three Hunger Games books in a matter of days, I’ve been reading about this amazing man.
The World War II generation always inspires and amazes me, so it’s no surprise to me that I find Churchill so interesting. My father was a WW II veteran and was well decorated for his service in the Phillipines, having been awarded a nice handful of medals – including two Purple Hearts and the Bronze Star. My mother regularly attended USO dances and, like many young women in her community, assembled fighter jet cockpits in a re-purposed vacuum cleaner factory in Chicago. (I’m the 5th of 6 children…mom was older when she had me. 🙂 People always do a double take when I tell them my parents were part of the Greatest Generation.)
I wear this pendant around my neck every day:
I bought it a while back because it was motivating to me – in fact, I really wish that the engraved version had been available back when I bought it. I never take it off. When I see it in the mirror or my fingers play with it while I’m concentrating on something, it reminds me to never lose focus. I think of this quote and my mind is immediately re-focused onto my goal…onto what’s most truly important to me in this quest to change my life for the better.
I still catch myself saying things like “I’ve only lost 32 pounds” when people ask me what I’m doing and how I’m doing it. Even though I can’t see a physical difference in how I look, I feel it in my clothes. I see it on the scale and the tape measure. So when people ask me how I’m doing this, I tell them what’s true for me: the most important thing is to keep your focus…and never, never, never give up.
Thank you, Winston, for being a force of change in our world…and in my life.