Success Is Not Final. Failure Is Not Fatal

The title is the beginning of one of Winston Churchill’s famous quotes; here is the full quote:

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.

The quote appears at the end of the movie “Darkest Hour“, which we saw today at the theater.

The movie focuses on the early days of World War II, when the fate of Western Europe hangs on the newly-appointed British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who must decide whether to negotiate with Adolf Hitler, or fight on against incredible odds.

If you look at Churchill’s history, it is apparent that he experienced many failures, but he came back stronger than ever each time, thus proving that failure is not fatal. On the other hand, Churchill had his share of great successes, particularly his handling of the second World War. Despite such success, he lost the election for Prime Minister just a year after the war had ended. So apparently success is not final.

Churchill, at least in the movie, exhibited a remarkable degree of courage and resolve. While he had much opposition to his decision during WWII to fight back against the Nazis vs. negotiating an end of the war with Hitler and Mussolini, Churchill stayed the course and opted to fight it out, to never surrender.

Here is a re-creation of one of his famous speeches where he makes this point crystal clear:

It was a good movie, a little slow at times, perhaps because we already knew the outcome. It was also fun recognizing many of the landmarks in the movie, and knowing the references to the London Underground.

One recommendation I would make is that you see Darkest Hour before Dunkirk. We saw Dunkirk last year, and I have to admit I did not know what was going on most of the time.

However, Darkest Hour helps to put the Dunkirk experience into perspective, and helps you realize its importance. I did not think the Dunkirk movie provided any such perspective as to the importance of the operation there and why it was critical to the overall war effort.

So now I feel like watching Dunkirk again, I think I will appreciate it so much more than the first time I watched it.

So Churchill walked his talk. He embodied every aspect of this quote:

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.

Such words are not just relevant when fighting a war, they could be applied to all aspects of life. It’s no wonder that Churchill won the Nobel Prize, not for Peace, but for Literature.

He was also voted the Greatest Briton of all time in a 2002 poll.

Such honors are a testament to his courage to continue.


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