Winston Churchill famously said, “If you’re going through hell, keep going!”

You will be glad to know that I am not going to focus on various examples of hellish experiences but a tiny, seemingly insignificant incident on my way home last night that reminded me of the power of persistence and determination.

There is a set of traffic lights near to where I live (the exact spot in fact, where the jet crash landed at the Shoreham Airshow last Summer). This same set of lights however, holds far more distant memories for me as a young driver.

When my friends and I first got our licenses, we would often pull up at these lights, late at night, with no traffic around and stage our own drag race. Me in my silver, VW Beetle (a bit sluggish but she could pick up the pace soon enough) and my mate with his duck egg blue, vintage Ford Cortina 1600E, as just one example of the stiff competition I faced.

The thing about these traffic lights is that there are two sets of lights with approximately twenty-five yards between them. When the set of lights nearest to the front of the halted traffic turn green, there is about a three second delay until the other set of lights turn green also. Drivers who are familiar with this sequence pay no attention of course to the fact that the traffic lights immediately in front of them are still red as they pull away from the first set of lights.

Are you still with me?

So, as I slowed down in my approach to the first set of lights last night, they changed to green, and so I was able to continue on my merry way, picking up speed instantly, despite the fact that the second set of lights was still showing red. For some reason, I got a real buzz out of knowing that contrary to what was plainly visible in front of me, I knew the second set of lights would change to green in time for me to pass through (it is perhaps worth pointing out here that there is no traffic light camera stationed at this location, nor is there any danger of traffic coming across via another set of lights).

This simple, some might say, even infantile bit of amusement on a quiet Thursday evening would not normally stir anything up in me except perhaps, a quiet satisfaction that I did not have to stop at all, and would soon be home.

For some reason however, I was reminded that sometimes, not always, that’s for sure – but sometimes; one set of lights flashing green is all we need to push on and then the next set of lights, even if they are currently displaying a defiant red, will also turn green, simply because we are determined enough to simply keep going.

So whether you’re going through hell or having the time of your life, just keep going and who knows how many red lights will turn green just for you?


Paul Hatcher

I am at heart, a communicator. I love to use words, whether written or spoken and maximise those words to hopefully, bring some encouragement - literally, to put courage into the hearts & minds of those who read or hear them. In my work as an executive coach, speaker, workshop facilitator, I love also to listen...deeply, and then respond with some encouragement.


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