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Never Give Up: Lesson from Robert Bruce!

Aug. 14, 2020, 11:04 a.m. by Dr Gayatri Mohapatra ( 654 views)

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The one who falls and gets up is stronger than the one who never tried. Do not fear failure but rather fear not trying

--Roy T Bennett,’The Light In The Heart’

Every child has grown up listening to the famous story of "Bruce & the Spider". Let us delve into history to know more about this intriguing story and learn from that individual, who did not know the meaning of either ‘impossible’ or ‘defeat’!

Robert Bruce, one of the most famous warriors of his time,was born to a Scottish aristocratic family. There were claimants to the Scottish throne during a succession dispute in 1290 - 1292. The English king, Edward I, was asked to arbitrate and chose John Balliol to be the King. Both Bruce and his father refused to back Balliol and supported Edward 1's invasion of Scotland in 1296 which forced Balliol to abdicate. Edward then ruled Scotland as a province of England.

Bruce then supported William Wallace's uprising against the English. After Wallace was defeated, Bruce's lands were not confiscated and in 1298, Bruce became a guardian of Scotland, with John Comyn, Balliol's nephew, and Bruce's greatest rival for the Scottish throne. In 1306, Bruce quarreled with Comyn and stabbed him in a church in Dumfries. Around 1308, Walter of Guisborough wrote that when Comyn “had confessed and was truly repentant, by the tyrant's order he was dragged out of the vestry and killed on the steps of the high altar.”

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The English described this murder as “outrageous sacrilege, inhumanly committed against God and the holy Church” and placed Bruce on a collision course with Scotland’s imposing neighbor, England. But the motivations behind the act remain as mired in uncertainty. He was outlawed by Edward 1 and excommunicated by the Pope.

Bruce now proclaimed his right to the throne and was crowned King at Scone. The following year, Bruce was deposed by Edward's army and forced to flee. Robert spent the winter on the island off the coast of Antrim, Northern Ireland.

Whilst hiding as a fugitive, despondently in a cave he is said to have watched a spider swing trying to build its web, time after time. It failed six times, but at the seventh attempt, succeeded. Bruce took this to be an omen and resolved to struggle on.

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This led to a decisive victory over Edward II’s army at Bannockburn in 1314. Although this victory was massive, the war did not come to an end for another 13 long years! Edward II was simply not prepared to give up on the unwinnable war he had inherited from his father, who had been known as the ‘Hammer of Scots’.

Bruce finally won the freedom he had struggled to fight for so many years and ultimately confirming Scottish independence in the Treaty of Northampton (1328). Interestingly, Bruce had learned guerrilla warfare from a young Scotsman named William Wallace ( whose courage and commitment to freedom/independence has accorded him iconic status far beyond his homeland) was fighting a successful freedom campaign in Scotland.

‘Outlaw King’, a Netflix original film by Chris Pine, is the story of Robert Bruce. In a memorable dialogue, Bruce says “I have fifty men to fight the strongest army in the world. This is how we do it. Take the land back, castle by castle”.

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That is the takeaway for all of us! The tenacity of spirit thought and action!

Here’s Robert Bruce telling you the mantra of/to success:

Play it again x 6
Sing it again x 6
Read it again x 6
Write it again x 6
Sketch it again x 6
Rehearse it again x 6
Run it again x 6
Try it again ×6


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Comments (3)

Pammi1234 7 months, 3 weeks ago
Mini 7 months, 3 weeks ago
Inspirational!Have heard this story umpteenth times.
AnonymousUser 7 months ago
Truly inspiring!