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Summary:

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill The man who won, lost and won again, the seat of Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, (1940-1945; 1951-1955) knew a thing or two about “carrying on, with vigor,” as he […]

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“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”
– Winston Churchill

The man who won, lost and won again, the seat of Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, (1940-1945; 1951-1955) knew a thing or two about “carrying on, with vigor,” as he so eloquently urged his people to do. A dark time in history, Churchill told his people during the air war over Britain, could be instead, “our finest hour.” And so it was.

So take a word of advice from Sir Winston: Embrace your failures, they’re taking you someplace.

If you’d like more inspiration, and haven’t read any of Winston Churchill’s writing, we’d suggest his six volume series called The Second World War. Churchill won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1953 (while a sitting PM).

If you have less time read this instead, Never Give In!: The Best of Winston Churchill’s Speeches

And for one of the best biographies, read William Manchester’s The Last Lion.

  1. Let me rephrase that to “Morons go from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”

    The thing to do is to learn from your failures as quickly as possible so as to stop the soul destroying trend. If you go from failure to failure for too long it will eventually kill your enthusiasm and confidence leaving you nothing more than a burnt out shell of a man–or woman.

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  2. a cynic in every crowd! (no one is saying repeat the same mistakes over and over.)

    The larger point here, well-articulated in Churchill’s books, is that failure is a subjective state of mind.

    Your greatest challenge, a set back or even a seeming defeat can– and should– be viewed instead as an opportunity for your “finest hour.”

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  3. ***
    I think Churchill is one of the most interesting characters in history. I also think we live in an age in which people are not patient enough to experience a seeming failure/defeat, go through the process of learning and then overcome and reach greater heights. Put another way, had Churchill been born at a later time I wonder if his constituency would have allowed him the opportunities to prove himself again and again.

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  4. Regarding good Winston Churchill books; I’ve read a few. I’d highly recommend this book Churchill: A Study in Greatness (also available in paperback) especially in the context of this article – looking at why he achieved and how; not just a detailed overview of what he actually did – it looks at why and the things that drove him.

    Also, this is a great and gripping read: Hilter and Churchill: Secrets of Leadership .. a book which I simply couldn’t put down.

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  5. sorry, forgot a more than sign – cant see how to edit the 2nd URL – please feel free to correct it! Thanks!

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  6. Sir Winston. “Sir Churchill” is as wrong as “President Jimmy”.

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  7. ha! I thought it sounded funny. what can i say, it was like 6 am.
    thank you….

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  8. BTW: we do call him prez jimmy

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  9. After the week that I’ve had trying to get my mail server up and running properly (I’ve now torn most of my hair out), this is a fantastically well timed article. I think every founder needs an occasional reminder to keep on going.

    Great thoughts – thanks Carleen.

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  10. [...] often find inspiration in political leaders — as many of you did last week with our Churchill quotation. The effective ones have the ability to motivate us beyond any single set of circumstances, and [...]

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