Live Your Passion

As boy, Winston Churchill hated school and came last in his class. He had a speech impediment. And he carried out large-scale operations with thousands of little lead soldiers. He organized wars, battalions were maneuvered into action, peas and pebbles committed great casualties, forts were stormed, cavalry charged. He failed the entrance exam twice at the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, and would have failed again, had he not, in a daring maneuver in a game of tag, courageously jumped 29 feet off a bridge into a chasm. He did not recover consciousness for three days, and during the months of recovery he learned just enough mathematics to squeak through. At Sandhurst, he entered at the bottom of his class, but he passed out 8th in a class of 150. As a young soldier, he sought out trouble in the world where he could practice his military skills.

I have been re-reading the Churchill Digest which my Dad gave me when I was twelve years old. The stories of Churchill’s daring, courage and confidence always motivate me. He escaped from a military prison in South Africa, fought in Cuba and India and steeped himself in the “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire”. His lifelong passion was military and he was a true warrior. He overcame every obstacle that he faced and fearlessly remained true to himself. When the weak, cowardly sycophant, Howard Chamberlain kowtowed to Hitler, Churchill stood up in the House, amid howls and catcalls, to say, “I will begin by saying what everybody would like to ignore but which must nevertheless be stated…” Would that we had a Churchill in today’s worried world, but I digress.

Churchill’s passion, focus and determination saved the world and will inspire good people for the rest of history. I suspect though, that if we were to ask him about his life, he would tell us that he had no choice; he simply lived his passion and remained true to his own heart and values. It’s easy to live your passion. True happiness and peace of mind are not to be found by hiding from the challenges and opportunities in life, but by living by your deepest passion and according to your philosophy, without compromise. True warriors don’t make excuses or blame others; they take responsibility and use the tools at their disposal to attain success, whatever the odds. They don’t whine; they win. They expect victory and they do not tolerate distractions for long. They practice their passion.

I believe that success, like failure, is a choice. For truly passionate and committed people, there is very little competition. When the sun of your passion burns brightly, the shadows of obstacles are diminished proportionately. Discover your passion and pursue it with everything you have. During the Second World War, Churchill directed operations from the War Room, where Queen Victoria’s words were printed on a sign erected in front of his seat: “Please understand that there is no pessimism in the house and we are not interested in the possibilities of defeat; they do not exit.”

Robin J. Elliott

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