Never give in

BY Bill Reagan

“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 honour and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.” – Winston Churchill

Life’s real test is not how you enjoy success, but what you do with adversity.

Churchill knew that. He had suffered great and humiliating failures throughout his life. Yet he is remembered today for what he was — the greatest Englishman of the twentieth century. He never gave in, and be-cause he never gave in the world is not ruled by Nazis today.

There’s a television commercial featuring basketball great David Robinson and Latrell Sprewell, also a professional basketball player. In the commercial David Robinson gives a little girl practical advice about success and hard work. Latrell Sprewell’s advice is, “Little girl, success is just failure that hasn’t happened yet.” The comment is tongue in cheek, of course.

Success is not the absence of failure, but really the sum of all the failures that have happened already. No one reaches success without considerable failure. Think of how many times a baby tumbles before she can walk, or how many times a child falls from a bicycle before he rides down the street.

Millions of young people celebrate commencement ceremonies this month, but those diplomas are not free. They symbolize the sacrifice and hard work of at least four, usually more, years of study.

Babies keep falling until they walk. They keep babbling until they can walk. Then, to one degree or another, we stop falling and give in to the easy way, to comfort and compromise.

Another twentieth century great, Eleanor Roosevelt said, “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”

Keep falling. Never give in.

Bill Reagan is executive director of Loaves & Fishes of the Rio Grande Valley.