You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life

You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life. – Winston Churchill

If you are going to fight your enemies, might I suggest a snowball fight?

What does that mean?
This quote is about enemies, and one of the ways you accumulate them. Specifically, this quote talks about getting enemies by taking a stand for something. Standing for something tends to annoy those who stand against that thing, and usually means that you have generated some animosity at a minimum, and (at most) an enemy (or enemies, as the case may be).

This quote is a stated in a congratulatory manner, as the author of the quote considers having enemies as a badge of honor. It is considered the logical result of standing for something in today’s world, which the author values quite highly. So, what have you stood for in your life, and how many enemies have you accumulated in the process?

Why is standing for something important?  
How many people do you know who are squishy, who will not stand for something? Please note there is a difference between not wanting to talk about politics, religion or other sensitive topics. I’m talking about people who can’t seem to make a decision, or will support whatever the most influential (or scariest) person in the room says they are in favor of.

Another word for a person like that is a wind-sock, as they go which ever way the wind blows. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think that’s much of a way to live. Standing for something (or several somethings) is part of defining of who you are and what you believe. If you don’t stand for anything, what does that say about who you are and what you believe?

Where can I apply this in my life?
Think about the things you care about in your life. People, concepts, principles, beliefs, or other things or ideas that mean something to you. Something that you would be willing to lose a friend (or even make an enemy) over.

Grab some paper and start a list. I hope you can get at least a few things down on paper. If it helps, make a graduated list, with different levels of intensity for each section on the list. How is the list looking? Are there things on it you would die to protect? How about go bankrupt or go to jail in order to protect or defend?

How easily do you think you could end up with people disliking you, or even declaring themselves your enemy over these issues? For some issues, like family, you might have to think back to Capulet and Montague to get there, but for many other issues, it should be fairly easy to see how you could seriously annoy some people, right?

Now, don’t get confused. I’m not in favor of people going out and making mortal enemies because of this quote. The point is to find out what you truly stand for. Hopefully, you can explain your point sufficiently well that others who disagree with your conclusion will not feel a need to become your enemy.

So, how can you take a stand and not make people your enemy? I would try to explain your side, and then ask them to explain theirs. If you focus on understanding them, and not on scoring points, you will likely be able to at least agree to disagree on the topic. If all you are doing is trying to score points, you will probably have a harder time keeping them as a friend, right?

If you list was a bit light, I imagine it’s because you haven’t spent much time thinking about the question. You might want to think about the things that matter to you. What would make life unbearable if you were to lose it? What are you willing to dedicate yourself to protecting?

For some, one such thing might be a person or a pet. What about concepts, ideas or ideals? Would you stand firmly for freedom, for liberty, or for justice? For everyone, or just those you care about? That might be something else to think about, wouldn’t it?

Again, I’m not advocating making enemies, and if you have some, I would recommend trying to work things out. It makes me sad to see all the time, effort, and energy lost while people pursue such ends. But you have to stand for something, and your job is to find those things, and defend them.

From: Twitter, @JoshuaDone
confirmed at :
Photo by macguys

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30 Responses to You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life

  1. wartorn14 3 October 2016 at 11:24 pm #

    Well said!

    • philosiblog 25 December 2016 at 7:10 pm #

      Thanks for stopping by, and for leaving such a kind comment.

  2. Diya 12 May 2016 at 12:22 am #

    I love this!!!!

    • philosiblog 12 May 2016 at 3:16 am #

      Thanks for stopping by and for leaving such an enthusiastic comment.

  3. John 27 October 2014 at 1:23 am #

    I’ve not been able to find where Winston Churchill made the statement “You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.” Have you?

    • philosiblog 5 November 2014 at 3:05 am #

      Nope. But not everything he ever said has been indexed on my favorite search engines. Still, even if he is not the source, it is an interesting quote.

  4. María 22 April 2014 at 12:45 pm #

    Magnific post. I have a lot of enemies, but I have never wanted to become like them. All my life my family has been poor because my father was swindled in very bad business by “friends”, and they deceived him on purpose into long-life debt. They got away perfectly well with it, they got a fortune over my father’s innocence, and we were poor and looked-down-on by everyone. Early in my life I have known the true value of fake, materialistic friendship. Because of that, I have never valued “hanging out”. I only want to relate to modest and reliable people who I know won’t screw me or benefit from me by any means.

    Yet this society is becoming even more and more absurd for somebody like me lol. Lately it looks as if these hypocritical values have been enhanced to the point of nightmare, and it doesn’t matter anymore if you are truly good in your job or not: only numbers of facebook friends or twitter followers and insubstantial crap like that matters in front of other people’s eyes. I have never been popular nor I have ever had anything to be taken advantage of, so I have been lonely all my life. And I was really happy, despite all. I just studied, learnt new things, read a lot, listened to music or played mysic… lived an anonymous, quiet, really unimportant life. Yet now I am married. I love my husband with all my life but he just can’t understand I don’t like “hanging out”, what for?? These people, all his friends, are just hypocritical fakes, full of gossip and crap. Nothing good comes out from that interaction, just spending money, wasting time, drinking way too much and feeling awkward because there is no real good communication, only competitivity, gossip, jealousy and crap.

    My hubby is perfectly free to hang out with them on his own but he never goes unless I go with him as well (maybe he doesn’t like that much to be with these people either… but he just won’t admit it). Now everybody is gossiping that I am an evil witch separating my lovely hubby from his acquaitances. It is ridiculous. Sometimes I just hate everybody in this society with their narcissistic obsessions and their weak consciousness. I just like modest, anonymous people. I have many enemies just because of me being me, as if I wasn’t allowed to exist, to be alive. I am polite, I am a respectful co-worker, I am reliable and I help others, but I have my limits, I don’t take sh*t or admit being taken advantage of, an they always try in the end, so in the end they end up becoming enemies. All of them, even those who I have helped the most when nobody else wanted to. In the end is like ok you are impopular, you are poor, you may be better than me in our job but socially you are a big L and I don’t want people to see me relate with you so bye-bye I never ever talked to you in the first place. They treat you like casual sex whores and they expect you to be basking in gratefulness for being granted that awful treatment, and when they see it is otherwise they end up becoming enemies because they expect (demand) you to stick your nose into their butts at all time for nothing, just because of them being them and that makes them oh so fabulous and so special they are like a bunch of charming princes and princesses having fun all together. I just wouldn’t do that, I earn my respect but I also don’t flatter other people’s narcissistic ego just because it is a common habit nowadays. So in the end I end up having so many, many enemies. I wouldn’t mind it if I didn’t fear it could harm my working life at some point, because of that damn habit of gossiping around, bullying at pleasure and not valuing your quality as a worker but your damned facebook life. With these conditions, I would rather die than fit in, which is what probably will happen to me eventually. But I am not afraid. On the other hand, becoming like them would fill me with self-loathe and terror.

    • philosiblog 23 April 2014 at 8:54 am #

      Thanks for stopping by and for sharing your story.

      Given your history, I can understand your stance. However, I would ask that you try to find one or two good people (besides your hubby) to befriend. There has to be someone out there, right? Take a little time, and try to soften your heart just a little.

      You will still have to be aware of the takers out there, who would do unpleasant things to you, but I believe you may be seeing things almost exclusively from the viewpoint of what happened to your father. Not everyone is like that.

      • Graham 25 September 2014 at 11:16 pm #

        Sorry, I know this is an old post, but I just stumbled upon it, and I think this last comment opens an interesting side-conversation worth having. Standing for something is liable to earn you enemies, but if it seems you are making more enemies than friends, or that you simply cannot get along with most other people, I think those are grounds for some serious introspection as well. Making friends is certainly a more worthwhile and rewarding endeavor than alienating everyone because you were “true to your principles and they can’t handle it.”

        A little tact can go a long way, and it is not impossible to stand your ground while building valuable relationships with the people who disagree or oppose your positions. Yes, there are certainly times when the issue may be devisive enough to create a permanent wedge in a relationship, but I would submit that those instances should be the exception, not the rule.

      • philosiblog 1 October 2014 at 3:58 am #

        Thanks for your comment. Yes the post is old, but the quote is older still. 8)

        There are plenty of ways to do things with skill and tact, and plenty of ways to do otherwise. A disagreement on principal can be either a knock-down fight, or a cordial conversation. One can make a life-long enemy, the other can make a life-long friend. I have some of each. I know which I prefer.

        Thanks for bringing this aspect of the quote to light. I hope to hear from you again.

  5. Heather 4 April 2014 at 1:43 am #

    This is truly an inspiring article. I sit in my home doing my own thing, doing creative projects, creating a better home, hanging out with my two precious beings or my kitties, and really like to tune out the world specifically as to what William has graciously said ” In all those things in my life, I’ve discovered that people are not inherently good, stupidity and ignorance runs rampant around the world, and if you stand for something that makes people feel guilty or uncomfortable about their own lives, then they strike out at you.” Which continually happens to me because I have a powerful core that seeks value and integrity within all my personal and professional relationships. I cannot have a relationship that lacks either.

    I am 39 yr old spiritual woman who undeniably goes through everyday to try and better the environment around me to create more light, more love, more peaceful solutions, taking the high road approach to life and try my damnedest to be a leader by example, but yes it is so challenging in a world full of people who are not self-aware and ridiculously self-absorbed.

    I go to work and try to better the work atmosphere but working for a spineless sadistic boss whom surrounds himself with conscientious individuals that he constantly demoralizes and demeans. I have had my rounds with him after 8 years going in and out of HR trying to stand up for my rights to be treated like a human being. Fortunately, upper management has changed and he can no longer be the sick slick crazed tyrant he has been in the past but now it’s just subtle manipulation.

    I have done everything, tried to stand up for the unjust behavior just to be cast as the black sheep of the group but I work my ass off and he can’t fire me. I have resorted to accepting my situation and staying below the radar to put bread on the table. I live a mile away and have become complacent to my working situation. I do try looking for other employment but after reading this article I feel extremely empowered which comes naturally to me anyway but I am very inspired by Williams post. He has answered which direction I will be heading in starting now. I am going to start giving to the left behind people who really understand how to be grateful and happy with even just a visitor whom may be a stranger but who gives thanks to the little things.

    Thank you Philosiblog, William and to all of those who agree to stand to live…..forget the trolls they are everywhere. Peace, Love, and Kindness

    • philosiblog 4 April 2014 at 5:32 am #

      Thanks for stopping by, and thanks for sharing your story. I’m glad you got something out of the quote. Just be careful, after all, the boss often has quite a bit of power, and being fired is never a lot of fun.

      Stay strong, and don’t let the trolls get you down. Or their cousins, the sadistic bosses.

  6. Gary 19 January 2014 at 8:07 am #

    “You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life”! What a nonsense quote! If you have enemies it is most likely because you are an a**hole and has NOTHING to do what so ever with standing up for something, or anything for that matter! Sounds like something concocted to make a**holes feel better about themselves being a**holes. And given Churchill was a total a**hole for much of his life it is little surprise this is credited to him!

    • philosiblog 20 January 2014 at 1:54 am #

      Thank you for taking the time to comment.

      And yes, I agree with you. Not everyone who has enemies has stood up for something. You seem to have that part right.

    • William Stedman 10 March 2014 at 2:23 pm #

      Gary, have you ever stood up for something or someone where you had nothing to gain? I doubt it. You’d know exactly what Churchill was conveying. I volunteered for the military. What an A**hole? I advocate for the elderly in nursing homes as a volunteer. Most of those poor old folks have relatives nearby that never visit, just tuck mom or dad away , forget about them, and then rationalize not visiting with another beer. I’ve held political office and fought against nepotism and corruption. I do all these things for a selfish reason, it makes me feel good. In all those things in my life, I’ve discovered that people are not inherently good, stupidity and ignorance runs rampant around the world, and if you stand for something that makes people feel guilty or uncomfortable about their own lives, then they strike out at you. Get out more often, do something that makes you uncomfortable and think about life.

      • philosiblog 11 March 2014 at 4:14 pm #

        Thanks for proving my point. Gary appears to be nothing more than a foul mouthed troll. And he’s busy making enemies without ever standing for anything, so I guess he made his point, even if he is also the victim of his own “logic.” Presumably, Gary would rather be speaking German, as Churchill was the heart and soul of the British People in that dark hour, and I doubt they would have survived without his leadership. And without England as a base, Europe would have been Hitler’s. And his ambition wasn’t limited to simply ruling Europe…

        Thank you, William, for your service, both in the military and with the elderly. It’s never ceased to amaze me how much they enjoy having visitors, even when they are complete strangers. And it is amazing how good helping others can make you feel.

        It would be nice to think Gary would do what you ask of him in your last sentence, but (presuming he was being honest about his feelings), I doubt it. And if he’s just a troll, then it is doubtful he ever will. That’s just not in their nature. But thanks for taking the high road and suggesting he do something to help his life. You sound like a real stand-up guy.

        Thanks for stopping by and for leaving a comment.

      • María 22 April 2014 at 12:55 pm #

        Magnific answer…

  7. Derek Saunders 16 September 2013 at 2:25 pm #

    I heard an “abbreviated” version of this quote but I couldn’t remember who said it. Either way, it makes me feel better about some of the things I’ve done in my life (not illegal, but certainly controversial). Thanks for helping!

    • philosiblog 17 September 2013 at 5:16 am #

      There are plenty of people who insist on having things their way. If that’s not the proper way, or not the best way, you’re going to get the sharp end of their tongue, right? I’ve managed to irritate a number of people, although in my case, it’s usually by means of abrasive application of logic. 8)

  8. Ann 21 April 2013 at 4:56 pm #

    Thank you. You know how sometimes things come to you at just the right time? This came to me today – and I needed it.

    • philosiblog 21 April 2013 at 6:40 pm #

      Thanks for the kind words, and I am glad the post was of use to you.

  9. MS 5 April 2013 at 3:53 pm #

    So aplty stated! But the best of all is the answer to the question -“So, how can you take a stand and not make people your enemy?”

    • philosiblog 6 April 2013 at 3:53 am #

      Tact, if you have it, is a wonderful thing. Failing that, what I put in the blog works fairly well.

      Thanks for the kind words.

  10. Jules 4 April 2013 at 11:05 pm #

    Brilliant thoughts and it really stuck a chord in me today. As a woman born in England to parents who survived WWII (English mom, American Navy dad) I grew up fascinated by that historic time, and the people, including Winston Churchill. I will never forget my mother recalling how he told their country and people to stay strong and fight, in the face of destruction and subjugation. His quote is powerful to me because it is what my parents lived, believed, and accomplished. He was a brave leader, but a man with flaws like all humans, yet he helped save a country and changed the world.

    • philosiblog 5 April 2013 at 4:25 am #

      Churchill has a special place in my heart as well. The right person at the right place in the right time.

      My father’s mother grew up in the Midlands, and her husband’s line came from just east of Plymouth (England) in the 1600’s, and lived in that part of England back into the Pre-Norman era. That makes me a bit of an Anglophile, I guess.

      Yes, we all have flaws. Abraham Lincoln said (quoting loosely) that the surest way to measure someone’s character and find their flaws was to give them great power.

      Glad you found the post of some use, even if only to bring back (hopefully pleasant) memories.

      I have 5 other Churchill quotes, with a few others which reference him, here Hope you enjoy them as much as you did this one.

  11. lynngrubb 2 March 2013 at 2:34 pm #

    Excellent blog. I just found this quote today and it really resonates with me.

    • philosiblog 2 March 2013 at 8:44 pm #

      Thanks! Glad you found me, and also glad you found the post of some use and interest.


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