You’d have to have lived under a rock for the past 60 years not to know about Winston Churchill’s bright and shining leadership of Great Britain in World War 2, but did you know about his career ups and downs as a young leader in World War 1? He was appointed as the First Lord of Admiralty, in charge of the British Navy. For anyone out there who doesn’t know about the British Navy, it was the best and most powerful navy in the entire world at the time, a VERY BIG DEAL. After some of his military strategies failed, under heavy criticism of his failures (called a “tragic side show”), he was fired. Stories tell that he left crying and told friends and family that he with nothing but a failure. He took a position on the Western front and endured the misery and horrors that WW1 trench warfare put upon an entire generation of young men. Little did he know what this world had in store for him, or how much he would be needed in the dark days to come.
When he later took the stage in World War II, ultimately to the success of the world as we know it, he’s said to have told a friend that he loved the war (WW2) because he felt that he had been put here on earth for the sole purpose of this battle. Oscar Wilde once said “experience is simply the name we give to our mistakes” and I can’t help but wonder how Churchill’s “experience” made all the difference in the second world war. Had he allowed his past failures to define him and hold him down, the world would never have seen the very best that Winston Churchill had to offer. Instead we might be living in a much different world, a very dark and scary place ruled by extreme prejudice and hatred.
When I hear Churchill’s story, it inspires me to honor my past failures rather than hide them. Not only can you overcome your failures but it could very well be that those failures are exactly the experiences necessary to bring you to greatness. Life is not pass or fail, life is cumulative. Embrace every experience you face, every trial you endure, practice gratitude for all that you have and get ready for the amazing adventure that this universe has in store for you. Today’s tragedy may be the building blocks for tomorrow’s triumph!
Photo credit: Mike Miley / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)