Leadership Lessons from Dwight D. Eisenhower #3: How to Make an Important Decision

by Brett & Kate McKay on June 24, 2012 · 29 comments

in A Man's Life

The complexity of planning and executing Operation Overlord — the largest amphibious assault in world history — was truly staggering.

The mission involved formulating deception plans, building artificial harbors along the British coastline, figuring out how to effectively launch 12,000 planes and 7,000 vessels, land 24,000 paratroopers into enemy territory, get 160,000 troops across the English Channel and onto and over 50 miles of beaches, plotting how to then re-supply those men as they made their way into France, and numerous other details.

The task of planning all of these operational elements fell to the 16,312 members of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force. But each of those individuals had a specific task to work on — they understood just one piece of the puzzle. Only one man had the job of putting all the pieces together, and that man was Supreme Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower. As his biographer Stephen Ambrose put it:

“Someone had to give the bureaucracies direction; someone had to be able to take the information they gathered, make sense out of it, and impose order on it; someone had to make certain that each part meshed into the whole; someone had to decide; someone had to take responsibility and act.

It all came down to Eisenhower. He was the funnel through which everything passed. Only his worries were infinite, only he carried the awesome burden of command. This position put enormous pressure on him, pressure that increased geometrically with each day that passed.”

Eisenhower accepted the burden stoically, and worked 100+ hour weeks for months, poring over the logistics of this great undertaking. Finally, by June 2 nearly all the pieces were in place. Only one great decision remained: choosing the exact day and time for Operation Overlord to commence.

The window for the launch had already been selected: June 5-7. During these three days, the conditions that would give the operation the greatest chances for success would converge: a full moon to help gliders and aircraft identify navigational landmarks as they flew in and dropped paratroopers the night before the invasion, a sunrise time that allowed 40 minutes of daylight to complete aerial and naval bombardments before the GI’s hit the beaches, and a low tide so obstacles and mines the Germans had placed in the surf could be removed as the landing craft came ashore at Normandy.

But the specific day and hour for Operation Overlord to begin had still to be decided upon. Again, the responsibility for making that decision rested squarely upon Eisenhower’s shoulders. And despite all the planning that had come before, the outcome hinged on a factor that was entirely, frustratingly, out of his control: the weather.

Ike tentatively set June 5th for the launch of Operation Overlord.

The countdown began on June 2, when SHAEF set up its headquarters in Southwick House, a stately country mansion located just north of Portsmouth. As always, Eisenhower chose to make his quarters in an unpretentious, unheated trailer he dubbed “my circus wagon,” rather than in the home’s more comfortable bedrooms.

Twice daily weather briefings — one at 9:30 pm and one at 4:00 am — were held in the Southwick House’s library turned command room. At the evening briefing on June 3rd, Eisenhower and his invasion commanders — General Bernard Law Montgomery, Air Chief Marshal Arthur Tedder, Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsey, Air Vice Marshal Leigh-Mallory, Lt. General Omar Bradley, and Eisenhower’s chief of staff, Major General Walter Bedell Smith — gathered in the sparsely decorated room, taking a seat at the long wooden table at one end or in the upholstered easy chairs scattered about on the other. Dark oak bookcases, mostly empty, lined the walls, heavy blackout curtains covered the windows, and a large map of Europe, dotted with push pins and arrows, hung on one wall. Scottish Group Captain J.M. Stagg, meteorologist for the Royal British Air Force, held the floor. He and his team of experts had debated what the notoriously difficult to predict weather over the English Channel had in store for the week and reached a dispiriting conclusion: a series of depressions were moving in from the west, bringing with them overcast skies, Force 4 or 5 winds, and low cloud cover. It was, Stagg said, a forecast “potentially full of menace,” and it was met by Eisenhower and his men with grave silence.

Ike slept little that night and could only pick at his food the next day. The pressure of the impending decision was increasingly weighing on his shoulders, the tension building up in his bones and sinews; colleagues thought he had never looked older or more tired. To pass the time and get some perspective on his anxiety, Ike scribbled a memoranda in his journal listing all of the things that were worrying him. “Probably no one who does not have to bear the specific and direct responsibility of making the final decision as to what to do can understand the intensity of these burdens,” he wrote.

When Ike and his commanders met again at 4:30 am on Sunday, June 4, Stagg confirmed his previous forecast, telling the men that June 5th would see high winds, low clouds, and turbulent waves — conditions which could potentially turn D-Day into a disaster. That such a dramatic change in the weather would take place — the early morning was clear and windless — was difficult to believe. And though his commanders were split on moving forward, Eisenhower decided to issue a 24 hour postponement to the operation.

A few hours later a furious gale blew in, just as Stagg had predicted.

Eisenhower spent June 4 pacing anxiously outside of his trailer, kicking stones and chain-smoking cigarettes in the increasingly stiff wind. He thought of the intelligence report he had received, informing him that Germany had recently strengthened the Normandy front with additional units.

He thought of the fact that only 15% of his D-Day troops had ever seen combat before; how would the green soldiers fair as they struggled through the withering onslaught of German firepower and up the beaches of Normandy?

He thought of the men crowded into fenced military camps (once the soldiers were briefed on their role in the invasion, they could not leave, lest they pass the information along to the enemy) and trapped aboard thousands of vessels rocking and idling in the sea and awaiting his orders. “The mighty host,” Eisenhower reflected, “was tense as a coiled spring.”

These worries and more burdened Ike, but above all, he was tormented by the thought of what would happen if a break in the weather did not arrive; the consequences, Eisenhower said, were “terrifying to contemplate:”

“Secrecy would be lost. Assault troops would be unloaded and crowded back into assembly areas enclosed in barbed wire, where their original places would have already been taken by those in subsequent waves. Complicated movement tables would be scrapped. Morale would drop. A wait of at least fourteen days, possibly twenty-eight would be necessary—a sort of suspended animation involving more than 2,000,000 men! The good-weather period available for major campaigning would become still shorter and the enemy’s defenses would become still stronger! The whole of the United Kingdom would become quickly aware that something had gone wrong and national discouragement there and in America could lead to unforeseen results. Finally, in the background was the knowledge that the enemy was developing new and presumably effective, secret weapons on the French coast. What the effect of these would be on our crowded harbors, especially at Plymouth and Portsmouth, we could not even guess.”

If Ike decided to move forward with D-Day despite inclement conditions, the weather could costs thousands of lives and capsize the mission’s success, severely weakening the entire Allied effort. But if he postponed the operation, the possible consequences were just as dire.

A reporter who walked with Ike that day described him as “bowed down with worry…as if each of the four stars on either shoulder weighed a ton.”

On the night of June 4th, Ike and his commanders were once again assembled in the Southwick House library, eagerly awaiting perhaps the most important weather forecast in history. Hurricane-like winds raged outside, rattling the panes of the room’s French doors. Rain cascaded in horizontal sheets across the windows. The weather matched the men’s gloomy mood; the chances of the invasion moving forward looked impossibly bleak.

So what came out of Stagg’s mouth could not have been more surprising: the rain would stop in the next 2-4 hours and a small, 36 hour window with better winds and visibility would open. The window would close soon after and stormy weather would return. But…the opportunity was there.

The men cheered. “You never heard middle-aged men cheer like that!” Stagg remembered.

And then the discussion began. Ike and his commanders peppered the meteorologist with questions about cloud and wave conditions, questions Stagg could not answer with 100% certainty.

The concern was raised that once the bad weather returned, it could prevent the next waves of troops from coming ashore, leaving the original invasion units isolated.  And while the skies were to clear slightly, the amount of cloud cover for the air assault would be less than ideal, leading Leigh-Mallory to deem moving forward “iffy” and Tedder to argue that conditions for the heavy bombers were too “chancy.”

Eisenhower paced the room, pointing his chin at each man to solicit his opinion. Smith told him, “It’s a helluva gamble but it’s the best possible gamble. Ramsey was dead set against it, while Montgomery declared, “I would say go!”

It was tempting to postpone the decision until they could get another weather update at their next briefing — maybe it would shed more certainty on what to do.  But Admiral Alan G. Kirk, commander of the American task force, needed his orders to set sail within the hour if Overlord was to take place on the morning of June 6.

Ike continued to pace the room. “The question is just how long can you hang this operation on the end of a limb and let it hang there?” he queried. The room was silent, the question rhetorical. His advisors had had their say. It was up to Ike alone to pull the trigger. As Smith later recalled, it is hard to contemplate the “loneliness and isolation of a commander at a time when such a momentous decision was to be taken by him, with full knowledge that failure or success rests on his individual decision.”

At 9:45 pm Eisenhower told his staff, “I am quite positive that the order must be given.”  Ike gave the preliminary go, and 5,000 ships starting sailing towards France. He could still call them back — the final decision would be made at the next briefing. But a recall would require the ships returning to port to refuel, pushing the next attempt out a fortnight or perhaps a whole month to when lunar and tidal conditions would once again be prime.

Ike returned to his trailer for a few hours of restless sleep. He tossed and turned as the wind and rain rattled his trailer.

At 3:30 am, June 5, Eisenhower arose for the last weather briefing. The moment of truth had arrived; the final decision had to be rendered at last. As steaming cups of coffee were passed around, the storm shook the walls of Southwick House; the weather outside offered not the slightest hint of clearing, not a bit of evidence to buttress Stagg’s forecast. But the meteorologist reiterated his prediction: the wind and rain would soon let up and a 36 hour window of fairer weather would emerge. Montgomery and Smith remained on board with moving forward; Tedder disagreed, and Leigh-Mallory continued to doubt that the skies would be clear enough for the aerial assault. Stagg left the room; no more weather reports would be available for several hours. Ike had all the information he would ever have – only he could think through every report, every commander’s opinion, and then act.

Once again Ike paced the polished wood floor, chin tucked to his chest, hands clasped behind his back. The room was silent save the crackling of logs in the fireplace. After only a few turns about the room, Eisenhower faced his staff and quietly but deliberately said: “O.K., let’s go.” The men cheered, and then as Ike remembered it, “without further words, each went off to his respective post of duty to flash out to his command the messages that would set the whole host in motion.” Ike was left alone in a cloud of pipe and cigarette smoke. The great wheels of the operation had begun to turn, and now not even Eisenhower could stop them.  Moments before he had been one of the most powerful men in the world; now the responsibility for the success or failure of Operation Overlord had passed from his hands and into the hands of the men parachuting into hedgerows and storming the beaches of France.

How had Eisenhower found the nerve to make one of the heaviest, most consequential decisions in history? “I had to,” he later explained, “if I let anybody, any of my commanders, think that maybe things weren’t going to work out, that I was afraid, they’d be afraid to. I didn’t dare. I had to have the confidence. I had to make them believe that everything was going to work.”

Pondering the way in which Eisenhower made the decision to launch D-Day has given me a lot of insights into how a great leader makes decisions. But the part of the story that sticks with me the most actually comes after he left Southwick House that day.

All that remained was the” interminable wait that always intervenes between the final decision of the high command and the earliest possible determination of success or failure in such ventures.” Ike went to lunch and told the press that the invasion was underway. Then he sat down at his portable desk to write a note. It was a press release he knew he might need to issue in the days to come:

While Eisenhower penned this “in case of failure” note on June 5, he accidentally wrote “July,” showing how much stress he was under.

After Eisenhower finished writing the note, he folded up the paper, tucked it inside his wallet, and went to visit with the 101st Airborne Division before they took flight to France.

Leadership Lessons from Dwight D. Eisenhower Series:
How to Build and Sustain Morale
How to Not Let Anger and Criticism Get the Best of You
How to Make an Important Decision
Always Ready

____________

Sources:

Eisenhower: Soldier and President by Stephen E. Ambrose

Eisenhower: a Soldier’s Life by Carlo D’Este

Crusade in Europe by Dwight D. Eisenhower

Southwick House — Where D-Day Began by

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{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jim June 25, 2012 at 12:13 am

I have read extensively about Eisenhower and his leadership. The weight that he carried during that critical time was possibly the greatest that any leader of men has ever shouldered. Millions of people’s lives on both sides of the conflict hung on that decision. He showed courage and an ability to remain collected in the face of extreme stress.

As an aside, it’s interesting to see the first photo in this article is one of he and General Montgomery, one of the most indecisive leaders in military history and one whose procrastinating style cost countless lives in North Africa and Normandy. If not for the cracking of the enigma code and the subsequent cutting off of the Afrika Corps’ Mediterranean supply lines, his plodding around North Africa would have resulted in doom. The same can be said in Normandy at Caen. His indecision to make a massive push led to a drawn out siege that claimed more lives than a coordinated assault would have. Eisenhower was heavily pressured to replace him, but he came to realize that his “leadership” was vital to British participation. Yet another difficult decision Eisenhower had to weigh and a prime example of how indecision, even out of concern for casualties among your men, can actually create issues and cause more casualties. Apply that to business and you’re now creating issues and losing money,

2 Joseph Classen June 25, 2012 at 12:20 am

I felt the tension, and the weight of the decision Eisenhower had to make. I enjoyed this article very much, and it couldn’t have come at a better time for me.

3 Robert Palmar June 25, 2012 at 12:28 am

Eisenhower penned notes on the eves of other amphibious operations
then secretly tear each one up afterward but this was saved by personal
request by Capt. Harry C. Butcher, Ike’s naval aide, who caught Eisenhower
removing his unused note from his wallet July 11, 1941 before it was torn-up.

Archivists at the Dwight D. Eisenhower Library & Museum call it the “In Case
of Failure” message. Capt. Harry C. Butcher who saved it for posterity knew
it was actually written on June 5th not July 5th. Considering the pressure
Ike was under at the time the incorrect month is certainly understandable.

Eisenhower’s note on case of failure says everything you need to know about the man.
Everyone who breathes freedom today owes a debt to Eisenhower, a truly great man.

4 Justin Savage June 25, 2012 at 1:48 am

The preparation leading up to and ultimately the execution of Operation Overlord was beautifully portrayed by Tom Selleck in the movie “Ike”. It is well worth the time and money.

5 Danny Zawacki June 25, 2012 at 6:12 am

This is a great piece. I can only imagine how the course of the world might have changed if they had waited a day or two before launching the attack. Or even if they had to wait a fortnight to do it.
Ike took an initiative and sole responsibility for that initiative that created our modern history to be the way it is. Such a great man.

6 Daniel Toms June 25, 2012 at 6:28 am

Fantastic series of articles. As an Auxiliarist (volunteer component of the Coast Guard), we have our own independent leadership structure composed of elected officers. I’ve been paying close attention to the wisdom of Ike ever since you brought his abilities to my attention. I am second in charge of my flotilla, and there are a lot of pitfalls involved. I can’t order anyone to do anything, only suggest, cajole, and organize. As I read this, I see the mistakes I make and in this article in particular, that sometimes when I blame a leader for making a bad decision, I at least have the perspective to understand why they chose what they chose. There is a difference between a bad decision based on good reasoning and a bad decision based on no reasoning.

I’m going to incorporate these lessons into our leadership course, and also study them well, because in about a year I am a candidate for leadership of the whole flotilla, and I will need to keep these lessons close to heart.

7 David Y June 25, 2012 at 7:51 am

Great article. It is a rare person who could handle that kind or responsibility and make those decisions.

After the invasion succeeded, Eisenhower sent a message to those involved thanking them for their valor and sacrifice. He only mentioned himself at the end saying “I am proud of you.”.

8 Scott Boyter June 25, 2012 at 1:36 pm

Wouldn’t the note have been written and signed on June 5, not July 5? Seeking clarification.

9 Brett McKay June 25, 2012 at 1:49 pm

@Scott-

As Robert mentioned above, he did indeed write the note on June 5, but accidentally wrote “July” instead of “June.” Just shows you how much stress he was under. I’ll add this as a caption to the image….

10 Robert Palmar June 25, 2012 at 1:50 pm

@Scott Boyter

Yes, Scott. Check my post above for clarification.

11 Robert Palmar June 25, 2012 at 1:51 pm

Brett and I writing the same time.
I consider that good luck.
Great series, Brett.

12 Dexter Peabody June 25, 2012 at 4:10 pm

My favorite Ike story was printed in the Readers Digest many years ago. It seems that when he was president of Columbia University, someone complained to him that students were taking shortcuts across the lawns. His response: find out where they’re walking and put sidewalks there.

13 CBL June 25, 2012 at 6:58 pm

Notice how, on the handwritten note, he had first written *the troops have been withdrawn*. He crossed out those words and wrote above them: *I have withdrawn the troops*. A man taking full responsibility for his actions.

14 Unknown June 25, 2012 at 7:59 pm

Great article, I must say that I have read this article a day late. This has probably been one of the most stressful weekends of my life. And much of what is in this article has had its place in it.
I’ll add this story here because I think it is something important for other men to think about, and I’ll think it will propably shape me for the rest of my life. The story:

So, I am almost 19 years old and I have just finished high school this Friday (I live in Europe). So naturally, this weekend has been all about celebrating it.
This Saturday, I was at a club celebrating and drinking (don’t worry, it’s legal here) with some friends of mine.
At some point during the night, me and a girl from my school (who I am pretty close to) were talking, and she told me that a good friend of mine, who was with me that night, had been stalking her for 3 years. And when I say stalking I mean the real deal (sending a hell of a lot of messed up text messages, standing in front of her house at night, sneaking into her diving practices, staring at her non-stop all night, … ).
Naturally, in my first reaction I was stunned. I immediately went to tell my other 2 friends who were with me what she had just told. However, the both of them were to drunk at that moment to completely get what I had just said. One of them was actually stupid enough to go over to him and ask him what was going on. He, of course, denied everything to him.
So then I went over, told him that I had seen the text messages and that lieing didn’t make any more sense. Suddenly, he turns into a man that I had never seen before. I am used to him being this relaxed guy. But at this instant, he was dead serious and he told me: “that his life didn’t make any sense without her, that he had it all planned out, that he wouldn’t live to see his next birthday”. And this wasn’t just some teenage bullshit. I saw in his eyes that he was seriously thinking about doing something dangerous. So I went nuts, he saw that in my face and he ran off.
My first thoughts were about the girl. She had seen me talking to him, so I had to tell her what he had just said. I knew that at that point, even though it wasn’t my intention, I had put her in more danger then she had ever been (the guy had problems at home, he had just lost his friends, he had nothing left to lose). So I fixed her a car and got her home.
After bringing her home and talking to the worst parents i had ever met (who the fuck does nothing when hearing something like that), I went home for a sleepless night. After targeting all the rage, fear and feelings of betrayal on my unknowing parents (I feel terrible about that). I had to come up with a plan. I could never live with myself if he did something to that girl, or to himself for that matter. I could go to the police, but they wouldn’t be able to do anything (he hadn’t physically done anything yet), and justice needs a long time to act . And I knew that, since I had unwillingly put him with his back against the wall (the way that he would see it), if he was really planning on doing something, I couldn’t wait any longer. But what could I do? How do you stop a psycho like that?
After that horrible night, my father told me I should go to my aunts house who is a psychologist (and who has dealt with this kind of thing before) to ask for advice on how I should handle it. She explained to me how stalkers would think and what the next step should be. Also, it helped me think straight (for those people who have problems, it’s not just for nut-jobs).
The best way to help the girl, would be to help my friend. To gather his best friends and confront him with what he is doing. Convince him that what he is doing is wrong and that he should get himself physically treated (people like that often don’t know themselves that what they are doing is bad). So I met up with my 2 friends (who had finally sobered up) and told them what the plan would be. We would go to his house, tell his parent’s what was going on, tell him that we were his friends and we wanted to help him (while I would rather bash his brains in). I asked them what there thoughts were, they agreed with me.
So we went there, and did what we had to do. At first, he denied it all. But after a while, he agreed to commit to therapy. We went out to have a drink with him (it took a lot from me to look him in the eyes) and left him to think about it.

I think a lot of this story and the decisions that I was forced to make have a lot in common with Mr. Eisenhower’s (although on a much smaller scale that is).
However, I must say that the article doesn’t add an important part. It doesn’t stop with the decision you make, you have to follow up on it. Even after Eisenhower gave his okay for Operation Overlord he had to steer his men so his decision had the result that he wanted. You can’t sit back and let things unfold themselves. Just like I have to make sure the guy goes to therapy, make sure he doesn’t bother or hurt her anymore. The decision is just the first step.

I know this is a huge story to put in a comment box. But it has been a breath of fresh air to wright this down. And as I can imagine that we all will be in a position at some point that your decisions and actions will directly decide whether a person (or 2, or yourself for that matter) lives or dies. I think I should not keep this experience for myself.

I must say again. I admire these series and your articles very much.

15 Masculinity University June 25, 2012 at 11:09 pm

Awesome post. I especially like the quotes, even though I always thought the “Plans are useless, but planning is everything.” quote was originally from Napoleon. Maybe he borrowed it.

16 Jeremy Delancy June 25, 2012 at 11:49 pm

There is a Japanese Proverb that says, “Who must do the hard things? He who can.” I wonder how many of this generation have the cojones to write such a note or could avoid the temptation of passing the blame to someone else?

17 Rana June 26, 2012 at 12:34 am

This is a real article about manliness and masculine direction. I remember reading age appropriate books about the 2 world wars as a kid: very exciting at the time but only gave a taste of what this war meant to a generation of men at the time. Great article and keep them coming.

18 jsallison June 26, 2012 at 10:47 pm

“My favorite Ike story was printed in the Readers Digest many years ago. It seems that when he was president of Columbia University, someone complained to him that students were taking shortcuts across the lawns. His response: find out where they’re walking and put sidewalks there.”

When I was assigned to C Trp. 2-1 Cav/3 Bde 2AD(FWD) back in ’79 the post (in Garlstedt, FRG) did not exist. I actually knew the guy (a fellow D&D player) who, as installation coordinator, was tasked with figuring out where the sidewalks would go. His decision was to wait a year and see where everyone was walking on the grass and then to pave the paths.

I won’t tell you what his reaction was, as the maneuver damage coordinator, to being informed that during a recent REFORGER exercise certain cavalrylike M60a1 RISE/PASSIVE MBT’s (bridge crossing category 60) had been observed crossing a bridge crossing category class 5 bridge and causing chunks to depart said bridge into ye olde flowing water. He was not a happy camper. And yet, we all lived to tell about it. Bridges built in 1360-something may not be quite as weak as current day Corps of Engineer wallahs would have you believe.

19 Mac Kinnon June 28, 2012 at 12:51 pm

Leadership stands as the most important characteristic for a man to develop. No matter what his station in life, be him a President, a business owner, a father, or a team member, a man can change his fate simply by being a good leader.

Thank you for sharing with us some of the strains this great leader faced.

20 Chad E. June 29, 2012 at 4:01 pm

Excellent article. Love the quotes. I felt like I was in the room when he finally made the decision.

21 Yator July 3, 2012 at 10:52 am

It is great and encouraging article pertaining to commitment to service and executing it dutifully

22 Paul July 3, 2012 at 3:26 pm

I almost teared up after reading that potential “failure letter” to the press. What a great man he was!

23 D July 5, 2012 at 11:39 am

Awe striking, and very inspiring article. Much appreciation.

24 Ed July 6, 2012 at 10:52 pm

Thank you for sharing this to us! Such a great series in regard to leadership skills.

Every leaders of the world should know this and treat its people with dignity and respect. To push forward and to make the critical decision, that’s leadership at its best.

25 Clody July 9, 2012 at 11:25 am

Great Leaders stands in the face of great adversity and that’s is the time that we will know what we really made of.

Thanks for this, I’ve learned something valuable. Keep it up.

26 Lee Wiiam Nelson July 13, 2012 at 5:00 pm

One of our greatest Presidents!

27 Nick M. July 16, 2012 at 4:51 pm

Great article.

28 Benjamin July 1, 2013 at 5:35 pm

This is exactly what I needed and what I’ve needed for a while now.

Six months ago I was living back home in London, I had a well-paid job, nice car, loving family and had met a woman who loved me and was planning the rest of my life in comfort with her. We went out several times a week and went away on holiday frequently, a good life compared to the situation a lot of my fellow graduates are in back home.

Then, my girlfriends father passed away over Christmas after having battled cancer for many years, something that devastated the family. At the wake, all of his immediate family went into the private chamber to pay their last respects and I hung back, out of respect. A few minutes later, I was beckoned into the room too as he’d always thought of me highly and was confident I was going to treat his daughter well when he was gone.

I will never forget it for as long as I live but I’m still not sure if it really happened. It was beyond surreal. The small room was packed full of people, each sobbing to themselves quietly, including my girlfriend and her siblings, but nobody looked at me. Nobody even noticed me. It was as if I wasn’t even there.

As soon as I saw him, I could look nowhere else. It was the first time I’d seen a dead body before and an incredible sense of calm and tranquility came over me. The perspective gained was overwhelming and immediate. I was not happy and for this simple reason I did not have a good life, no matter what society dictated. I needed to live on my own terms like he did and only then would I know success.

I changed as a man that day, I wasn’t able to love my girlfriend in the same way and I haven’t been able to come to terms with it properly until I read this article. I am the arbiter of my own destiny and must take full responsibility for the state of my own life. No more excuses.

Since that day I’ve quit my job, have split up with my girlfriend and have left the country. I wasn’t able to love her in the same way after that and it’s only now I understand why. I’m currently in the USA pursuing my dream of being a professional soccer coach. I’m in an incredibly hostile environment compared to back home where I was praised for my work and had loads of friends. All the other coaches are from a completely different background than I, have more experience, a better CV and better contacts than me and aren’t afraid to remind me at all times. I don’t fit in with them at all and it used to get me down. But the bottom line is I have the same opportunity as they do and this is the reason I was put onto this Earth, it is my purpose. I want it more than them, I’m more intelligent than them and I will know success..

Coming out here was a massive first step but all the planning, all the sacrifice, everything I left behind will be for nothing unless I pull the trigger the way Mr Eisenhower did. I can’t wait a few days, I can’t wait a few weeks, it has to be NOW or everything will be ruined. I will treat every situation I find myself in from now on with that mentality and I will know success, because. I’m gone, I want people to talk about what I DID rather than what I didn’t have the balls to do because it seemed difficult at the time.

I apologise for the length and somber tone of my story but I haven’t been able to get this off my chest until now. This article has changed my life and I’m eternally grateful.

29 Kat February 17, 2014 at 7:03 am

Hello there! This article could not be written any better!
Going through this post reminds me of my previous roommate!

He always kept preaching about this. I will send this
post to him. Pretty sure he’ll have a great read. Thanks for sharing!

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