As Supreme Allied Commander during World War II, Eisenhower oversaw the greatest amphibious assault in history, organizing the largest air and sea armadas ever assembled and commanding 160,000 men in the momentous Operation Overlord.
After the success of that mission helped bring the war to a close, Eisenhower dreamed of going home to a happy and peaceful retirement. Instead, he went on to serve in five more globally pivotal positions: Head of the American Occupation Zone in Germany, Chief of Staff, President of Columbia University, Supreme Commander of NATO, and President of the United States of America.
One of the things I have admired and stands out to me about Eisenhower in all that is written about him is his relentless pursuit of improvement and the building of character in himself and by example to those around him.
"When nothing seems to help, I go and look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that blow that did it, but all that had gone before.” Dwight D. Eisenhower
Continuous improvement. Chipping away at problems through daily perseverance results in breakthrough improvements again and again over the years. It is not easy but the habit of chipping away relentlessly does produce results and success.
As we know, Eisenhower achieved great successes. But whether he was navigating setbacks or achieving triumphs, he led with perseverance. His dedication to principle and his bounding vitality could inspire people to lofty visions, while his humility created a feeling of friendship and intimacy even with those he had never met. These qualities and more won him the affection, loyalty, and admiration of those who served both under him and over him.