Winston Churchill's Keys To Success

One of the difficulties in discussing success is that each of us may have a different definition. I believe that ultimate success in life depends on my relationship with my creator1, but I also believe there are many aspects of success that all of us can agree on.

Lessons from Winston Churchill

I would not equate building an application or creating a game with the major events surrounding Winston Churchill’s life and career, but there are lessons we can apply from what he said and wrote.

On Failure

“Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.”

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

Learn from your failures rather than let them discourage you from continuing.

On Quitting for the Wrong Reasons

“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.

There are times to quit and there are times to persevere.

It is difficult to tell the difference, but if you think it might be time to quit, wait until you are thinking clearly and can evaluate the situation properly before making that decision.

On Criticism

“Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.”

Not every bit of criticism is valid, but I have found that most criticism contains at least a kernel of truth — find that kernel and decide if you need to make corrections.

On Mediocrity

“I am easily satisfied with the very best.”

Try very hard not to settle for mediocre results. Often it is better to cut something out completely rather than include some half-baked feature.

On Difficulties

“Mountaintops inspire leaders but valleys mature them.”

“The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”

Sometimes the only reason one person succeeds where others have tried and failed is simply because they pushed on through the valley to the other side when no one else did.

On Worries

“When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened.”

“Let our advance worrying become advance thinking and planning.”

Do not focus on things that might happen. You have enough things that are happening right now that you should handle.

Final Thoughts

Winston Churchill experienced things I never will, through times that I hope to never see.

But, his perspective and wisdom, though not perfect, can be invaluable when thinking about success. I hope you found a nugget that helps you this week.

As an indie developer, one of the best things you can do is to find like-minded developers that will provide encouragement and motivation while pursuing a commitment. A great collection of indie iOS developers have helped me stay on track, many of them are either developers associated with iDevBlogADay, or those I have met through the 360iDev conferences. I also encourage you to find local NSCoder nights, developer meetup groups, or other user groups to keep your motivation on track. If there aren’t any meeting locally, try to find one other developer and start one.

Also, here is a little more information about me, Doug Sjoquist, and how I came to my current place in life. You should follow me on twitter and subscribe to my blog. Have a great day!

1. Matthew 16:25-26 “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?”