I’m almost positive you’ve seen the posters. They’re usually red and say “Keep Calm and…” (There are so many variations). But do you know the story behind the original? I want to do something a little different today. I’m going to give you the history of this saying and also talk about how I am working on applying it to myself.
Before World War II started, most of the world knew tensions were rising. They anticipated that war was coming. Britain anticipated that there would be an attack on their land– the mainland, even though they still owned many colonies around the world at this time. During the summer of 1939, the British Ministry of Information created three posters to boost morale and encourage the citizens. These posters were “Freedom is in peril. Defend it with all your might,” “Your courage, Your cheerfulness, Your resolution will bring us victory,” and “Keep Calm and Carry On.”
About 2.5 million “Keep Calm and Carry On” posters were printed. The Keep Calm and Carry on posters actually were not cleared for public display. When Germany attacked Poland on September 1, 1939, the British and French troops declared war on Germany. However, after the initial attack neither side went too much on the offensive. This was a period of time known as “The Phoney War.” It was a span of ten months where neither side made a lot of advancements. After Germany cut across France all the way to the coast, Great Britain expected an attack on their mainland. They used the other posters to boost morale and encourage the British. However, when the British went to war, they came into a paper shortage. They actually ended up scrapping most of the “Keep Calm and Carry On” posters to pulp to reuse them.
If you know anything about history, then you know that the Germans did indeed attack the island of Great Britain. They stayed strong, the Japanese attacked attacked Pearl Harbor, and the Americans got involved. The Allied Powers turned the tide and won the war in 1945.
The Keep Calm posters didn’t become famous until about 2000. A bookstore actually had an original and hung it up (framed). From there, the popularity grew into what we know today.
But as silly as the slogan may be, it rings true. The whole idea was and is to continue to work through whatever comes your way. By keeping calm, you’re able to rationally think about the situation. Carrying on is pretty straightforward. You don’t give up. You continue each day as you should.
Recently I’ve turned that inwards to apply to my own life. I’ve talked before about scheduling my life and working towards a specific goal. Well the event was this past weekend, and honestly, there were a couple parts that didn’t go as well as they should have. I won’t lie, part of me wanted to give up for a little bit. I felt like I failed both myself and those that came to support me.
It’s still something I’m working through. I’m trying to keep calm. I let myself feel sad and upset over what happened. But I’m also thinking rationally about what I can do to improve. In addition, I’m also working to carry on. Yes, the situation didn’t work the way I wanted to. But that doesn’t mean I’m done. It doesn’t mean that I can end (even though, like I said, a part of me wanted to). It means that I can figure out what the next step is. I may have lost this current battle, but I’m still going and I’m still fighting. I still have more in me. So I’ll keep going. I’ll carry on and do what I need to do.
Now I’m in no way comparing what I’m going through to what soldiers and those left at home went through. But I believe that you can use sayings like “Keep Calm and Carry On” in your life. You might be fighting your own battle. How do you handle it? Do you give up? Do you push through? Do you do what you need to? Or do you drop everything? There’s no right answer to these questions, and I myself am just beginning to get through this. But I’m still fighting. I’m still working. And I hope you are too. So in the meantime, Keep Calm and Carry On.
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