Churchill’s Lessons to Those in a Dark Hour
In the private phone booth where a lone caller could communicate with foreign leaders and
key allies below the streets of London, the cramped, dark room reminded British Prime
Minister Winston Churchill of his time held in captivity in Pretoria decades prior. In the
back of his mind, the two situations were almost similar, according to his own dark humor.
Just as he was held in captivity facing imminent danger then, he and the rest of his British
citizens were captive on their island home facing the threat of a much more dangerous
enemy the likes of history had never seen before.
Years after WWII had ended, Churchill would admit in interviews and in his own writings
that during the war and many other dangerous situations throughout his life, he was
always afraid of what could potentially happen. However, as a foreign correspondent, a
soldier, and as the man who led his nation during the fight for their life, Churchill
understood that to allow fear to consume you would be to give into fear itself. Churchill’s
bravery and willingness to fight on in the free world’s darkest hour alone shows that no
threat is too big or powerful enough to defeat a man who can face their fears eye to eye and
still move forward.
Are you in a prison of your own? Are you facing threats that make you wonder if you’re
man or woman enough to take them on? We all go through our own darkest hours, but
getting through them is what takes us from ordinary people into everyday heroes. By
taking a head-on attitude with the obstacles you face while understanding that facing your
fears makes you stronger, the sky is the limit for what you can achieve!
Here are a collection of five quotes that expose us the courage and tenacity of one of
mankind's most influential leaders, Sir Winston Churchill.
1. “United wishes and good will cannot overcome brute facts. Panic may resent it.
Ignorance may deride it. Malice may distort it. But there it is.”
The issues of absolute truth and moral relativism have hit western culture several since the
first World War when the “Lost Generation” drifted along in America and Europe searching
for a purpose there could never obtain from the material world. Flash forward to our time
now, regardless of faith or political persuasion, we as a people are struggling to identify
truths we once held as fact in order to appease one group of people or another.
As talking points and partisan narratives begin to consume the mind of man, truth becomes
lost in the process and all people become lesser because of it. Churchill in the days prior to
the announcement of Britain’s full involvement in the war against the Axis struggled to gain
a consensus in Parliament as Hitler’s army was invading neighboring nations and enslaving
hundreds of thousands of civilians.
In our own time, it can sometimes be hard to determine the truth when people try and
make excuses for the bad actions of others. Yes, your one co-worker lied about their
background to get a better job, but they are good at it now so what does it matter? Yes, the
boss’s son wasn’t the best man for the job, but are you going to try and ask for the
promotion you know he’s competing for too? Every day we are faced with obstacles that
make us doubt ourselves and our abilities, but when the truth is on our side, it is up to
others to come to the table with the real argument as to why they want to skate through
things, either out of negligence or fear.
2. “Danger gathers upon our path. We cannot afford- we have no right - to look back. We
must look forward.”
On a very personal level, Churchill at times admitted he would suffer from periods of
severe depression, which he often referred to as his “black dog.” As a soldier and as a public
servant, Churchill carried the scars of conflict physically and psychologically, and his
regular alcohol consumption didn’t make any of them easier to bare.
Often in life, we are faced with traumas and other personal baggage we carry around with
us, maybe even using them as an excuse to avoid things most people would consider
normal, but to us are an obstacle to large to face. Churchill understood that by facing your
traumas, understanding them, and the becoming master of them instead of letting them
control his life, was necessary in order to be the leader his people needed him to be.
Life doesn’t give us rest periods or bend the forces of the universe to help us out, but
Churchill ultimately had the choice to either step down and let someone else do it, or
sacrifice his well being and legacy in order to be the true man in the arena when he was
needed most of all.
3. “In politics when you are in doubt what to do, do nothing… when you are in doubt what
to say, say what you really think.”
This is a very elegant way of saying to take big decisions slowly without shooting from the
waist first. Churchill during the war didn’t have the opportunity to make a mistake, because
even a little mistake could risk many lives. By taking the time necessary to think through
his challenges and showing restraint when necessary, Churchill made the best decisions he
could make since his people deserved nothing less than thoroughness. Not every decision
he made on his own account was perfect, but the consequences of ill-thought-out decisions
and actions, if he had done otherwise, would have been disastrous.
4. “Unteachable from infancy to tomb- There is the first and main characteristic of
Mankind has had thousands of years to observe the good, the bad, and the ugly about
humanity. While some see this quote and see it as a man with a pessimistic view, another
approach is to see it as a challenge to live better and promote the type of world you want to
leave for future generations. People make mistakes, but the knowledge of the past can
ensure we can achieve things others who are no longer with us can’t. While humanity still
has a long way to go, life throughout the world today is considerably better than any point
in human history- and that is worth being happy about alone.
5. “You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your
Often times loneliness and persecution can force us to doubt ourselves and our identities,
however, sometimes a firm stand is necessary when you are standing up for something that
is right. Churchill, like other great men, pushed into a corner, didn’t let the number of his
enemies intimidate him, but instead allowed the righteousness of his cause and his
immense love for his nation motivate him to never back down.