Winston Churchill

Do you find yourself beset by worries? Winston Churchill has some advice.


Balthasar Gracian

Winston Churchill — who led Great Britain to victory against Nazi Germany, during World War II — certainly knew hard times. Indeed, he knew what it is to go through hell, such as the aerial bombardment of London. But Churchill also knew hard times on a personal level. His career certainly had its upsets and disappointments. At one point, after losing a number of elections, in the 1930s, it was generally believed that Churchill was through politically. Then, in the 1940s, when the British people awakened to the unpleasant fact that they would have to go to war against Germany, Churchill’s dire warnings about Hitler proved true and he was elected to become prime minister.


Churchill was famous for a number of immortal speeches and sayings, embodying courage. One that I find to be a particularly valuable piece of

advice is, “When going through hell, keep on going.” It is, indeed, the best advice for anyone in the midst of a difficult, or arduous situation, or a crisis — keep on going, keep on working persistently to alter the situation, such that one can eventually leave hell.


Decisive action is the best antidote for worry. Balthasar Gracian, the Sixteenth Century Spanish monk, confirms Churchill’s thoughts:


“Know how to rely on yourself. In great crises, there is no better companion than a bold heart, and if it becomes weak it must be strengthened from the neighboring parts. Worries die away for the person who asserts himself. One must not surrender to misfortune or else it would become intolerable. Many people do not help themselves in their troubles and double their weight by not knowing how to bear them. He that knows himself knows how to strengthen his weakness, and he wise person conquers everything, even the stars in their courses.” (Balthasar Gracian. The Art of Worldly Wisdom. Translated by Joseph Jacobs. Shambala Pocket Classics. pp. 144-145.)


And so, if you find yourself beset by worries — and perhaps by misfortune itself —first decide upon the best course of action, but don’t take too long. And then act resolutely to turn things around.


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