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Sunday, January 6, 2013

Live dangerously.....

In defining and understanding the universal principles of impact it is useful to study those who have genuinely made an impression on our world. One such person was Winston Churchill, who, despite the estimated 20,000 bottles of champagne he drank in his lifetime, was indisputably a heavy hitter. Paul Johnson's book "Churchill" has an insightful Epilogue which describes five characteristics that the author believes contributed primarily to Churchill's achievements:

  1. Always aim high - improve your weaknesses and capitalize on your strengths, set your sights high. Churchill mastered English history, participated in five wars, became a prolific war correspondent and author, as well as an acclaimed painter, polo player (winning the top award in the world) and, of course, was Prime Minister during the most critical period in 20th century history.
  2. There is no substitute for hard work - do everything to the best of your ability, take the tough decisions, balance "flat-out work" with "creative and restorative leisure".
  3. Never allow mistakes, disaster, accidents, illnesses, unpopularity or criticism to get you down. Churchill suffered abject failure, humiliation and catastrophic loss but these never sapped his energy and courage to continue. This was arguably Churchill's greatest strength and the biggest contributor to his success.
  4. Do not waste any time on the "meannesses of life" - for example attributing blame, seeking revenge, rumor-spreading, grudges or vendettas. Conserve energy for positive ends, understand that hatred and fear are exhausting, energy-intensive and wasteful.
  5. Find time for joy in your life - be happy, laugh, enjoy your interactions with others.

These are five important principles, equating to boldness, discipline, courage, conservation of energy and balance, all key elements of impact. To finish with some further advice from Churchill, consider his counsel after being badly injured in a car accident in New York City in 1931. In an article about his accident he concludes "For the rest, live dangerously, take things as they come. Fear naught, all will be well."

Be bold, go with and don't worry - every little thing gonna be alright!

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