Kites Rise Highest Against The Wind

If you took the world’s politicians, put them in a room, and went person by person to ask who they most admire in political history, odds are good that one name would be in many top five lists: Winston Churchill.

He’s become a proverbial giant of history. Mostly because of his great triumphs: his distinguished war-time leadership of Great Britain through its darkest hour. His remarkable prescience. His famous speeches—“blood, toils, tears and sweat.” Of course, they forget that Churchill spent a good chunk of his adult life as the most hated politician in England. He would refer to them as “the wilderness years” and that’s an apt description. He was exiled from the councils of power and politics, and he was, for 10 years, adrift.

But this was not all bad. Because this was the testing ground for his greatness. As Seneca wisely said: “No man is more unhappy than he who never faces adversity. For he is not permitted to prove himself.”

“Kites rise highest against the wind, not with it,” Churchill once said, and while there are many lessons from his life, this is one of the best at embodying Stoic principles. We should remember his example: Do not look for comfort. Do not resent challenges or opposition. View it as something that will test and challenge you. Rise to the occasion.