As I am sending this email on the 75th anniversary of VE Day, it seemed right to let that theme run through this week’s Friday Footnotes. After all, the sacrifice so many people made during that time is in some way similar to the key workers putting their own lives on the line for the greater good.
What I’ve Been Listen To
What better place to start than Winston Churchill’s speech on VE day, 1945. A man that had such a way with words, he is the third most quoted source in history, after the Bible and Shakespeare. He said “we may allow ourselves a brief period of rejoicing, but let us not forget for a moment the toils and efforts that lie ahead”. You can listen to his speech here.
TED Talk That’s Inspired Me
Simon Sinek is one of my favourite authors; in fact, I am currently reading his latest book ‘The Infinite Game’. In this TED talk, Sinek has a simple but powerful model for inspirational leadership – starting with a golden circle and the question: “Why?” His examples include Apple, Martin Luther King Jr. and the Wright brothers. You can watch it here.
What I’ve Been Watching
Would you be willing to sacrifice 1 life to save 5 others? This dilemma is seeing more discussion than ever with the introduction of autonomous cars. You can watch a brief clip about this problem here. What if that life were your own; would you be willing to sacrifice it for the greater good? Would you take a bullet for another person? This is something illusionist, Derren Brown, explored in his brilliant psychological experiment called ‘Sacrifice’. Find out if he can manipulate an ordinary person into taking a bullet for a stranger by watching it here.
Quote of the Week
It would be wrong not to quote Churchill this week, so some of my favourites are:
“If you’re going through hell, keep going.”
“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak. Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”
“One always measures friendships by how they show up in bad weather.”
“Things are not always right because they are hard, but if they are right one must not mind if they are also hard.”
Finance Theme I’ve Been Considering
Sacrifice and financial planning often go hand in hand. You sacrifice spending all of your money today to create a better future for yourself. You sacrifice some of your money today to protect you and your family, should the unexpected happen. You sacrifice trying to make a killing in one single investment by diversifying your investments so that you also cannot be killed by any one investment. And finally, you sacrifice time and money today to get your estate in order, so that the people you love do not have a mess to clear up when you are gone and they are more focused on grieving.
Life is about making sacrifices for the greater good. What we can learn from both the World Wars, and the current COVID-19 crisis is that most of the people around us are actually amazing, probably much better than we thought, and that they too are willing to make sacrifices, some big and some small, for the greater good.