My gorgeous friend Marnee was visiting London from California so I asked her what she wanted to do while she was in town. She was really keen to go to the Churchill War Rooms and I had never been so was happy to do try something new.
The Churchill War Rooms are the underground rooms where Winston Churchill held office away from the dangers of The Blitz. It was fascinating to see these rooms preserved, holding so much history. What was even more fascinating was the life lessons I learned from the museum about Mr Churchill’s life. I thought I would share them with you here:
- Winston Churchill was 65 years old when he was made Prime Minister. We all often remember him for his role in WW2 but he had lived a whole life before that. He continued to work until he was 89, and only stopped due to ill health.
Lesson: you are never too old to achieve what you want in life or to start again. When you love your work, it is not work, it is who you are.
- Before becoming Prime Minister, he had worked as a soldier, a journalist, he was the highest selling book author in 1900, won a Nobel Prize or his writing in 1953 and was a politician. When he was a war correspondent, he was kidnapped and made an escape and reached celebrity status. He used this celebrity to launch his political career.
Lesson: Just because you are known for doing one thing there’s no reason why you can’t try something else, and be a success at it.
- He had many talents and hobbies – he enjoyed landscaping, bricklaying and painting.
Lesson: it’s good to have a variety of different interests away from work to unwind.
- He had a lot of self confidence. One quote I love of his is “we are all worms, but I do believe that I am a glowworm”.
Lesson: confidence in one’s worth and talents is not necessarily arrogance if it is backed up. Unless you are confident in what you do, it can be hard to be successful and fulfill your potential.
- He was a troubled child. He was sent to boarding school and missed his parents so often ‘acted out’ and got low grades.
Lesson: what you achieve in school doesn’t have to be an indicator of what you will achieve in life.
- He was married and devoted to his wife and children. In his first letter to her after their first date, he wrote that it was lovely to meet a woman who was strong and had intellect. She is often sited to being his rock and confidant and advised him on many political matters including the handling of WW2.
Lesson: strong men admire and need strong women.
- He was apparently extremely difficult to work for. He needed silence at certain times of the day, and he could be difficult to his staff. Yet they all said that it was a pleasure to work for such a great man.
Lesson: it is important to be respected for what you do and who you are.
- He changed political parties, from what would have been conservative back then to labour.
Lesson: a man of conviction and honour, he wasn’t afraid to change parties, he would rather follow what is right than what was conventional.
- He had a strong personality. He could be short with people, had a sharp tongue was very witty and also had a style – he was known for his cigars and bow ties.
Lesson: having a strong personality and an individual style is important. Not everyone might like you but everyone will remember you.
- Churchill suffered with depression, which he referred to his ‘black dog’.
Lesson: mental health issues are not a weakness or a flaw, some of the greatest people suffer with depression.
He is responsible for some amazing quotes:
“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”
“If you’re going through hell, keep going.”
“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak. Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”
“You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.”
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”
Lesson: an inspiring man we can all learn from, who’s life and ethos is still relevant today as it was in the 1940s.