In the Words of Winston Churchill

A new book by Alan Axelrod, Winston Churchill, CEO: 25 Lessons for Bold Business Leaders, makes the case that Churchill “had a rare ability to absorb the lessons of failure and turn them toward success. When hope seemed futile and others could see only defeat and disaster, Churchill saw opportunity…and possessed the boldness of vision and the self-confidence to act quickly and decisively in grasping that opportunity before it could slip away. Rarest of all, he possessed the ability to inspire others, to communicate his goals with words that not only persuaded the mind but stirred the heart.”

As I built both the vision for my consulting business and the tone of this website, I kept coming back to the words of Winston Churchill and felt it apropos that I provide visitors with a selection of quotes from one of history’s great leaders, both here and on other pages. My personal favorites are in bold face.

A man does what he must – in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers and pressures – and that is the basis of all human morality.

A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.

Broadly speaking, the short words are the best, and the old words best of all.

Continuous effort – not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential.

Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities… because it is the quality which guarantees all others.

Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.

Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.

Difficulties mastered are opportunities won.

Everyone has his day and some days last longer than others.

Great and good are seldom the same man.

However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.

I am an optimist. It does not seem too much use being anything else.

I am certainly not one of those who need to be prodded. In fact, if anything, I am the prod.

I am easily satisfied with the very best.

I never worry about action, but only inaction.

If you have an important point to make, don’t try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time – a tremendous whack.

If you’re going through hell, keep going.

It is a fine thing to be honest, but it is also very important to be right.

It is no use saying, ‘We are doing our best.’ You have got to succeed in doing what is necessary.

Kites rise highest against the wind – not with it.

Let our advance worrying become advance thinking and planning.

Never hold discussions with the monkey when the organ grinder is in the room.

Never, never, never give up.

Perhaps it is better to be irresponsible and right, than to be responsible and wrong.

Play the game for more than you can afford to lose… only then will you learn the game.

Solitary trees, if they grow at all, grow strong.

Success is going from failure to failure without a loss of enthusiasm.

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.

The length of this document defends it well against the risk of its being read.

The truth is incontrovertible, malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end; there it is.

To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.

True genius resides in the capacity for evaluation of uncertain, hazardous, and conflicting information.

You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.


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