t goes without saying that most people in the United States regard
Abraham Lincoln as an American hero. But mention Abraham Lincoln on
this site, and you’re in for an earful.

Which is one of the
great things about the Community Comments below; you will get both
sides of the story, and in the case of “honest Abe,” many of you
readers clearly don’t think he was so honest.


But whether you
love Lincoln or loathe him, it’s hard to dispute the fact that this man
was a great leader — and an inspiration of what you can accomplish if
you put your mind to it.

Here was a man who was born in a log
cabin, with less than one year of formal education to speak of for his
entire life — and he went on to become president. This is especially
remarkable considering that most successful people in that time started
out with advantages.

Then there are all of his failures.

  • In 1832, Lincoln was defeated in an attempt to become Speaker of the Illinois legislature.
  • In 1843 he was defeated in an attempt to win nomination for Congress.
  • In 1846, he was elected to Congress, but had to leave two years later because his party had a policy of limiting terms.
  • In 1854, he lost a run for the U.S. Senate.
  • In 1856, he lost the nomination for vice president, and in 1858, he was again defeated in a race for the Senate.

During
this time he also faced emotional setbacks, including the death of his
first love and a rejected marriage proposal. It’s said that Lincoln was
actually clinically depressed.

Yet in spite of all these setbacks, in 1860 he was elected president of the United States.

What Can You Learn From Lincoln?

I’m
not here to debate whether or not Lincoln was a great president, but I
do think most of us can learn something from him, and that is how to
turn your failures into successes. As this article says:

“Every time Lincoln failed at
something, he was soon trying for something even bigger. He failed many
times, but somehow he always failed upward.”

Simply put,
Lincoln had amazing inner strength. He had emotional and professional
hurdles to overcome, yet never did he let a setback get the better of
him.

Think about this for a minute.

How many times have
you let a failure dictate your future? What if you could take that
letdown and learn from it — coming out even stronger than you were
before?

The name of the game here is persistence, and at this Lincoln was a master.

Meanwhile, he imagined himself as being great right from the start.

“Lincoln
saw himself as a leader long before he was one. In fact, he saw himself
as the leader, right from the first. This wasn’t arrogance or empty
ambition. It was a sense of ultimate purpose in service of a worthy
cause,” the article’s author writes.

You, too, can apply these principles in your own life, and use them to find, and achieve, your mission.

Sources:
  • Nightingale-Conant 2008


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