Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill was one of the greatest orators in England. It’s hard to believe that he used to be a slow and ill-mannered student. For many well-known figures, the experience of failure is seen as nothing but a hindrance to success, and a motivation to strive for greatness.
Winston Churchill, the people’s politician
Sir Winston Churchill was hugely influential in politics throughout the 20th century. Well-known for the intelligence that led Britain to victory in World War II, he overcame the threat of Hitler’s armies and massively contributed to the cause of sustaining world peace.
Born into an aristocratic family, Churchill had the opportunity to access a high standard of education from an early age. Nonetheless, he far from excelled in his studies. Churchill’s school achievements were not remarkable. His academic results were poor and he was frequently punished. He despised Latin, Greek, Math, and French, and was placed among other students considered to be “inferior” who needed special assistance.
Churchill’s advancement through the army ranks was also challenging. He applied for the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst, owing to his childhood dream of becoming a soldier, but was only successful in his fourth attempt: He was accepted into the cavalry of the Royal Military Academy since the entrance requirements were low.
After graduating from Sandhurst, Churchill became aware of his comparatively lacking knowledge. He seemed unable to relate what he had learned in the academy to the realities of “real life.” He decided to advance his education by teaching himself, diligently devouring books on world-famous businessmen, history, philosophy, and economics. While his schoolmates napped, avoiding the scourge of the mid-summer heat, Churchill went to the library. He read Plato, Gibbon, Shakespeare: authors that would lend their collective wisdom to his endeavor.
Motivated by a desire to match (and perhaps even supersede) his peers, Churchill transformed himself from a dull man to a wise man, a learned man, and an admirable orator.
On May 28, 1940, the British cabinet grew anxious about the surrender of the Belgian Army after the German invasion. Neighboring countries also appeared on the verge of collapse, including France. Churchill, by now Prime Minister elect, was pressured into negotiations with Hitler.
Churchill proceeded to give one of the most groundbreaking speeches in British history. “If this long island story of ours is to end, at last, let it end only when each one of us lies choking in his own blood upon the ground,” he delivered, with the passionate and persuasive language of a very powerful man.
After listening to their Prime Minister, the British people chose to fight, and henceforth changed the course of history forever.
People consider Winston Churchill one of the greatest orators in history. However, he was not born with innate talent. At the age of 29, the young Churchill almost froze in front of an audience and could only stutter a few words as a new representative in the House of Commons. At this stage in his political career he experienced great despair, and swore to himself that it would never happen again.
Failure had shaped Churchill into a formidable and strong-willed man. And finally, his efforts reaped results. Thanks to his efforts, hard work, and determination, he became the Director of the National Treasury, the Minister of Finance, and a celebrated Prime Minister of Great Britain.
The Italian singer Andrea Bocelli
Since he soared to success with the album Il Mare Calmo Della Sera in 1994, Andrea Bocelli has released more than 10 pop and classical albums. Bocelli is currently considered one of the most famous Italian singers in the world, having sold over 110 million records, and at the age of 58, life seems to be perfect.
Besides his glittering career, Bocelli has a beautiful wife, two sons, a daughter, and a net worth of US$50 million. Few people know that Andrea Bocelli had to overcome numerous hardships in order to get where he is today.
Bocelli once shared the story of his birth: “A pregnant woman was admitted to hospital with appendicitis,” he began. “The doctors had to apply ice to her stomach, and when the treatment ended the doctors suggested that she abort the child. They told her it was the best solution, because the baby would be born with a disability.”
Bocelli’s mother, however, made the brave decision to keep her baby at all costs, and on September 22, 1958, her son was born. The infant was indeed diagnosed with congenital glaucoma, which affected his eyesight. At the tender age of 12, Botticelli lost his vision completely during a game of soccer.
Bocelli has also shared that it was not luck or chance that bestowed him with such a beautiful voice. In fact, he suffered through vigorous vocal training during his time at boarding school. In order to succeed as a singer he had to work diligently, pouring his heart and soul into the work. Bocelli lived a disciplined life for a young man, and trained himself into developing life-long good habits.
It may be hard to believe, but the consummate performer Bocelli also used to suffer debilitating stage fright.
Bocelli opened up: “When you’re on stage singing, you’re naked. Your voice is something very intimate,” he continued, “and that’s why I’m scared every time before I perform.”
Bocelli has trained himself to overcome that fear in order to master the stage. And the singer’s efforts have paid off. “My story reaffirms that there is no impossible dream,” Bocelli professed. “The essential thing is to believe in it, and to pursue one’s own project in life with honesty, humility and discipline.”
Having sung in front of millions of people, including four US presidents and three popes, Bocelli is hugely admired in both the music and religious communities. Bocelli himself claims that without music, the soul is void. For him, music is the sound of the soul drifting into consciousness.
Regarding rationality and faith, Bocelli has given the topic much consideration: “My faith was born in adulthood,” he shared. “I realised that in making any choice, we stand at a fork in the road – one path is leading towards the good, the second in the direction of evil.”
“Faith is a truly priceless gift that I try to maintain and deepen,” Bocelli concluded. “It supports me day after day.”
On March 2, 2010, Bocelli’s contribution to international music was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.