The Wit & Wisdom of Winston Churchill

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April 11, 2022

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Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill [1874 –1965] was a British statesman who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945, during the Second World War, and again from 1951 to 1955. Of mixed English and American parentage, he was also a war hero, a Nobel Prize-winning writer and historian, a prolific painter, and one of the longest-serving politicians in British history. By almost any standard, he was one of the most influential, important and quotable people of the 20th century.

A lady came up to me one day and said ‘Sir! You are drunk’, to which I replied ‘I am drunk today madam, and tomorrow I shall be sober, but you will still be ugly.

I no longer listen to what people say, I just watch what they do. Behavior never lies.

All I can say is that I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me.

Diplomacy is the art of telling people to go to hell in such a way that they ask for directions.

Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.

You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks.

When you’re 20 you care what everyone thinks, when you’re 40 you stop caring what everyone thinks, when you’re 60 you realize no one was ever thinking about you in the first place. You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.

Fear is a reaction. Courage is a decision.

If you’re not a liberal at twenty you have no heart, if you’re not a conservative at forty, you have no brain.

A nation that forgets its past has no future.

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

There is nothing government can give you that it hasn’t taken from you in the first place.

Everyone is in favor of free speech. Hardly a day passes without its being extolled, but some people’s idea of it is that they are free to say what they like, but if anyone else says anything back, that is an outrage.

The positive thinker sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible .

Some men change their party for the sake of their principles; others their principles for the sake of their party.

Appeasement is feeding the crocodile, hoping he will eat you last.

You can always count on Americans to do the right thing – after they’ve tried everything else.

The Russian Bolsheviks have discovered that truth does not matter so long as there is reiteration. They have no difficulty whatever in countering a fact by a lie which, if repeated often enough and loudly enough, becomes accepted by the people.

One man with conviction will overwhelm a hundred who have only opinions.

Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.

A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.

Schools have not necessarily much to do with education…they are mainly institutions of control where certain basic habits must be inculcated in the young. Education is quite different and has little place in school.

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.

He who fails to plan is planning to fail.

The main vice of capitalism is the uneven distribution of prosperity. The main vice of socialism is the even distribution of misery.

If you’re going through hell, keep going.

Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.

My tastes are simple: I am easily satisfied with the best.

History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.

Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.

I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.

It is not enough that we do our best; sometimes we must do what is required.

The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.

Kites rise highest against the wind, not with it.

Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.

A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.

Personally, I’m always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught.

For myself I am an optimist – it does not seem to be much use to be anything else.

The greatest lesson in life is to know that even fools are right sometimes.

We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.

The price of greatness is responsibility.

Continuous effort – not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential.

Don’t interrupt me while I’m interrupting.

Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.

He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.

An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.

To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.

It is a good thing for an uneducated man to read books of quotations.

There are a terrible lot of lies going about the world, and the worst of it is that half of them are true.

In the course of my life, I have often had to eat my words, and I must confess that I have always found it a wholesome diet.

If we open a quarrel between the past and the present, we shall find that we have lost the future.

When the eagles are silent, the parrots begin to jabber.

Out of intense complexities, intense simplicities emerge.

To build may have to be the slow and laborious task of years. To destroy can be the thoughtless act of a single day.

The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.

Never hold discussions with the monkey when the organ grinder is in the room.

Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities because it has been said, it is the quality which guarantees all others.

We shape our dwellings, and afterwards our dwellings shape us.

What is adequacy? Adequacy is no standard at all.

Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak, it’s also what it takes to sit down and listen.

Everyone has his day, and some days last longer than others.


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