“You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.”
There are very few people in modern history who played such a crucial role in how life is lived today. Without Winston Churchill’s strength of character, winsome ability to inspire, yet at the same time speak with conviction against almost all odds, history may have written a different outcome to World War II.
I find myself continually inspired by him with the more historical and biographical information I read. Being an avid reader and continually striving to learn and explore, Churchill earned a Nobel Prize in Literature, was the painter of 535 canvases, chose instead to follow his convictions, not partisanship and even after his death (at the age of 90), he still is a pillar of what is possible no matter what you are up against. For a boy whose father forever felt he would be a failure, Winston Churchill was the farthest thing from such a description.
With his quote above, he reveals something so many try to avoid, especially women. And I say that because so many times it seems that women are trying to keep the peace, to be the mediator, avoid confrontation, but I believe that in being liked by everyone, we allow ourselves to vanish and become anything depending on whoever we are with.
While it is true, we must pick our battles, I do believe that we must be willing to stand up for those ideals and rights that we find fundamental to a better way of life, to doing a job most productively, and to anything else that without deteriorates at the core our ability to live our best life.
How we go about standing up for what we value is almost as important as what we are standing up for. We must broach the subject (whether it be with our colleagues, loved ones or community) in a way that is based in sound reasoning (not just because that’s the way it was done when I was growing up, etc), respectfully and good faith.
We also, upon making the decision to stand up for what we believe in, must realize that we may lose some once thought to be coveted relationships. However, if we are being truthful, and if what we are standing up for is a priority to the foundation of how we live, than this is a reality that we must be prepared to accept.
Having said all of this, I would also advise continual education and updating on what it is that you believe in, and even more importantly, to research the other side no matter how deeply you disagree with it. For understanding concretely exactly what the opposing argument may be, you are able to create an even sounder argument for your position. And who knows, you may discover something you hadn’t realized that potentially changes your opinion of the other side for better or for worse.
The key is to always seek knowledge, keep an open mind and once you have done this, you can stand firmly behind what you believe knowing you have done it with a clear and sound mind with valid reasons.
As Churchill teaches us, no matter what your situation, no matter how many times you are shoved aside, never allow cynicism to detour you, always believe that things can improve if you have the courage to do the dirty work and never stop learning, reading and trying new things.