Friday, November 24, 2017
Lesson number two is: there is no substitute for hard work. Churchill obscured this moral by his (for him) efficient habit of spending a working morning in bed, telephoning, dictating, and consulting. He also manifestly enjoyed his leisure activities, for him another form of hard work, to keep himself fit and rested and to enable himself to do his job at the top of his form. The balance he maintained between flat-out work and creative and restorative leisure is worth study by anyone holding a top position. But he never evaded hard work itself: taking important and dangerous decisions, the hardest form of work there is, in the course of a sixteen hour day. Or working on a speech to bring it as near perfection as possible. No one ever worked harder than Churchill to make himself a master orator. Or forcing himself to travel long distances, often in acute discomfort and danger, to meet the top statesmen face-to-face where his persuasive charm could work best. He worked hard at everything to the best of his ability: Parliament, administration, geopolitics and geostrategy, writing books, painting, creating an idyllic house and garden, seeing things and if possible doing things for himself. Mistakes he made, constantly, but there was never anything shoddy or idle about his work. He put tremendous energy into everything, and was able to do this because (as he told me) he conserved and husbanded his energy, too. There was an extraordinary paradox about his white, apparently flabby body and the amount of muscle power he put into life, always.
-Paul Johnson, Churchill