One of my favorite parts of The Last Lion series was how often Winston Churchill’s rhetoric would grab my imagination. Take for example this small snippet from Defender of the Realm, when Churchill was asked about post-war aims, while war was still raging1.
…Yet, he advised, as enjoyable as it was to ponder such questions, “the war has prior claims on your attention and mine.” He closed with a piece of homegrown wisdom: “I hope these speculative studies will be entrusted mainly to those on whose hands time hangs heavy, and that we shall not overlook Mrs. Glasse’s Cookery Book recipe for the jugged hare—‘First catch your hare.’”2
I love this. We are very prone to, continuing the fowl metaphors, count our chickens before they hatch. I think we can look at it from the other side, too, because we all too often worry about a potential outcome while it is still only a potential outcome.
In both cases, we are better served by dealing with actual highs and lows, rather than just the expectation of either. It’s useful to be reminded of this periodically, and a good Churchill anecdote keeps the lesson memorable.
It’s important to note he had very clear post-war aims and was very willing to discuss them. It just had to be politically sensible to do so. ↩︎
Manchester, William, and Paul Reid. The Last Lion Winston Spencer Churchill: Defender of the Realm 1940-1965. New York, NY: Little, Brown & Co, 2012. Kindle link. ↩︎