Winston Churchill defied all the rules of healthy living. He was a chain smoker, alcoholic and obese. He religiously followed his unhealthy lifestyle. On one occasion, Churchill hosted a luncheon for King Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia, who did not allow smoking or drinking in his presence. Instead of complying with the king’s wishes, Churchill stressed that “my rule of life was prescribed as an absolutely sacred rite for smoking cigars, as well as for the consumption of alcohol before, after and if necessary during all meals and in between”. The king was convinced.
Churchill was very proud of his drinking habits, as the anecdote of his life suggests.
It was towards the end of the Second World War and a delegation from the Temperance League visited Churchill. And one of the ladies who was there rebuked him strongly, saying, “Prime Minister, I’ve heard about the brandy you’ve been drinking since the war began, and I’ve heard that if it was poured into this room, it would go up to your waist.
And yet Churchill was extremely healthy. He became the longest serving prime minister of the United Kingdom at the age of eighty and lived to be ninety. He wrote “The Second World War” in six volumes and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1953, at the age of eighty.
I always wondered how Churchill had defied any scientific formula for good health and lived so long.
Perhaps the secret of Churchill’s health lies in the fact that he always followed his conscience. There was no contradiction between what he thought, what he said and what he did. Perhaps this harmony gave him good health and a long life. Many people may follow good habits, but they may not be true to their conscience, which can make them sick and even kill them quickly.
It may be difficult to prove the deep connection between health and conscience, but we all know that this is true.