Rule 28. Never give in, never give in, in nothing great or small large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honor and common sense.
This rule is derived from a speech made by Sir Winston Churchill on October 29 1941, to Harrow School.
Following through with my theme of endurance started Monday, I though this would be the perfect rule to write on.
You cannot tell from appearances how things will go. Sometimes imagination makes things out far worse than they are; yet without imagination not much can be done. Those people who are imaginative see many more dangers than perhaps exist; certainly many more than will happen; but then they must also pray to be given that extra courage to carry this far-reaching imagination. But for everyone, surely, what we have gone through in this period – I am addressing myself to the School – surely from this period of ten months this is the lesson: never give in, never give in, never, never, never-in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy. We stood all alone a year ago, and to many countries it seemed that our account was closed, we were finished. All this tradition of ours, our songs, our School history, this part of the history of this country, were gone and finished and liquidated
Very different is the mood today. Britain, other nations thought, had drawn a sponge across her slate. But instead our country stood in the gap. There was no flinching and no thought of giving in; and by what seemed almost a miracle to those outside these Islands, though we ourselves never doubted it, we now find ourselves in a position where I say that we can be sure that we have only to persevere to conquer.
The very embodiment of the tenacity and indomitable spirit of the British empire, Churchill lived his life by this rule. During World War II, London was bombed over and over again. The country was living in the constant threat of German invasion, watching, horrified, as Europe fell before Hitler’s army. Never-the-less, Churchill stood tall, encouraging his people to endure, to hold hope that their torment would end, that, “we have only to persevere to conquer.”
This reminds me of a similar quote made in the 2002 film, The Count of Monte Cristo.
“Life is a storm, my young friend. You will bask in the sunlight one moment, be shattered on the rocks the next. What makes you a man is what you do when that storm comes. You must look into that storm and shout as you did in Rome. ‘Do your worst, for I will do mine!’ Then the fates will know you as we know you.”
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, life isn’t easy; but where would we be if it was? Toil is a natural part of life that causes us to grow and learn under stressful situations. What defines character, and defines a nation, is when difficult situations arise, whether they choose to surrender or say aloud to all that can hear, “Never, never, never.”