"Sure I am of this, that you have only to endure to conquer. You have only to persevere to save yourselves, and to save all those who rely upon you. You have only to go right on, and at the end of the road, be it short or long, victory and honor will be found."
- Winston S. Churchill
When Winston Churchill spoke the words I just quoted, it was after the first British sea victory in the First World War. He was riding high, First Lord of The Admiralty. Not long after he uttered those words, however, he was out of power and in disgrace, for the failure of Gallipoli. He would eventually drift in a “political wilderness” by the 1930s, seen as a malcontent during Hitler’s rise to power but Churchill never relented. He would become again First Lord of the Admiralty in September 1939 and then Prime Minister in May 1940. The rest most of us know.
And how do we find “victory and honor”?
Can we meet with an obstacle, challenge, problem, or crisis and resolve it, and retain a helpful experience still visible in our memory’s rear view mirror? The answers to this will be a resource for three important words: survival, perseverance and endurance.
"This too shall pass" is a hackneyed phrase but it's helpful enough. Do we have the ability to have deal with what confronts us and believe, visualize and imagine life after the storm? We must first survive.
"Survivorship bias" is a hidden flaw, tucked within the statistics of marketing material and "pitches" but the issue of surviving in markets and life is not mere sales content.
Another cliche will be helpful. "Live to fight another day" is our call to arms for comebacks, reinvention, renewal and revival. These are themes which mean a lot for the trader, investor and pretty much anyone facing endless changes in our economy.
But survivors need more. What more?
Perseverance is a secret ingredient in success.
We don't always progress, learn, rise as quickly as we would like.
We don't live on permanently high plateaus in life.
Sometimes there's a dip, a detour, or a descent into one long lonely walk through a deep valley. What keeps it bearable is our belief about what lies ahead - a new mountain to conquer. The survivors must press on through the valley. They must press on with a steadfast earnest heart. That’s perseverance.
But even that’s not enough. What more?
We must persevere so that we see brighter days, become better at new passions and pursuits, or behold new opportunities. So we need more than survival and perseverance. We must be hardened for the endless trials and tests to come.
Navy SEALS, I've read, succeed thanks in part to being able to persevere. They can persevere, for many reasons, including: being able to think in terms of teams and being able to laugh at themselves. "Rambos" tend to wash out. Your will is to not wash out. You can push past your own ego. Your heart sings.
Survivors, with a steadfast earnest heart, are strengthened with each test they undergo. They are hardened with both tragedy or triumph. Endurance.
Survival, perseverance and endurance.
And what does it look like to those watching from the outside?
Renewal, revival and rebirth.
Final words. You are all survivors.
We have only to endure and persevere,
to relish and cherish what may follow.
Victory and honor.