The story has been told and retold countless times about the battle of Waterloo. Poems have been written and songs have been composed detailing every conceivable aspect about it. The English tell it one way and the French share it from a slightly different point of view.
History and legend has it that after Napoleon Bonaparte’s army was defeated and the Duke of Wellington prevailed over the French, Napoleon was taken away and imprisoned. One day a group of newspaper reporters came to visit. They had obtained permission to hold an interview with the famous French general, Napoleon Bonaparte.
Even though Napoleon was in prison, he carried himself with dignity and looked with piercing eyes at the group of reporters gathered there before him. Questions were asked and answers given. The reporters wrote every word down. This would, indeed, be good reading. They would boast to their children and grandchildren how they stood before the great general on that long ago day.
Suddenly, from the back of the room, a voice, somewhat more gentle than the others was heard above the din. “Mon general,” the reporter said, “Tell me why the English won at Waterloo. Did they have a superior army?”
“No!” replied Napoleon.
“Well, did they have better weapons?” asked another reporter.
“No!” was the answer again.
Then the first reporter asked again, “Why then, Mr. General, did the English win?”
Napoleon’s eyes slowly swept across the room. The silence was so deep that it was almost deafening. You could have heard the proverbial pin drop. Then he replied, “The English fought five minutes longer.”
From the mouth of the great general himself came the answer, “The English fought five minutes longer”. Many times, five minutes longer is all that it takes. Times have changed from the days of the Emperor Napoleon. But many things still remain the same.
Sometimes victory is just a few minutes away. Yes, I know, we all go through terrible times. In today’s world many of us are faced with crisis after crisis. For most, there is never enough money, no jobs, poor relationships, ill health and the list could go on and on. Of course, there are good times, too, but the hard times usually block our vision of the good times.
When things get really bad, we turn this way and that looking for some help or at least some hope to keep on keeping on. Anything will do–a kind word from a friend, a paragraph from a good book, a stray piece of music from the radio, even a Hollywood movie.
Some people will be there for you, others will turn and run from you, fearing for their own well-being. Still others may throw you a crumb of money, or food and hope you won’t ask for more. Be grateful. They do as they see fit to do at the moment. Your job is to just keep on keeping on.
When you are down in the arena and the dust is in your mouth and you can hear the screaming of the crowd, remember, “The English fought five minutes longer.” Sometimes it’s so bad that one day at a time is too long. So go one hour at a time. And if that’s too long, then how about five minutes at a time?
Success is sometimes just yards or minutes away. There are times when the last few yards may seem like miles and the last few minutes may appear to be hours. But if you keep on keeping on, if you do not let hope die, if you have faith in the goodness of the universe and the Force that created us, you will win in the end.
Why did Napoleon lose to the English at the battle of Waterloo? The English simply fought five minutes longer.