I’ve repeatedly extolled John Bogle. One of the things I love about him is his ability to tell a good, meaningful story. He recently gave a speech at Trinity College. It’s short and worth reading, but let me just quote from the beginning:

There is a wonderful story — which is, I fear, apocryphal… It is the story of a visit to Harrow School during the early 1960s by Sir Winston Churchill, that lion of the British Empire, returning to the scene of his graduation in 1893.

As the story goes, Churchill was well into his eighties — frail, wizened, and bent over — when he returned to Harrow for the opening of school, a formal affair with the students and their teachers in white tie. At the conclusion of the dinner, Churchill was asked if he’d say a few words. He rose, paused, and then spoke. “Never give up. Never. Never. Never. Never. Never.” Then he sat down, to thunderous applause.

That is the simple message I deliver to you today as you enter the tough real world that recent generations have given you: Never give up. I’ve especially loved the fifth “never” in that sequence, not because of the number itself, but because that fifth “never” is a wonderful metaphor for the numerous times in the lives of so many of us when, faced with defeat, we have had to draw on our deepest resources to fight back and defend our lives, our careers, our principles, our honor, and our character.

Don’t forget that fifth never. Someday you may need it.

Never give up. Never. Never. Never. Never. Never. Good words.

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