Laughable to Legendary: Lincoln Never Quit

Have you ever wondered what the driving factors were that led our President to draft the Emancipation Proclamation during an era that would most definitely lead to a Civil War? What kind of persistence must he have had to see it through with so little support?

Have you ever been so determined to accomplish something that you were willing to disregard the likelihood of failure? Well, Abraham Lincoln may have been more willing to disregard failure simply because he was so well versed in it.

You read that correctly. Born into poverty, Lincoln was faced with defeat throughout his life. He lost eight elections, twice failed in business, and suffered a nervous breakdown.

He could have quit many times – but because he didn’t, he became one of the greatest presidents in the history of our nation.

Here is a brief sketch of Lincoln’s road to the White House:

  • 1816 His family was forced out of their home. He had to work to support them.
  • 1818 His mother died.
  • 1831 Failed in business.
  • 1832 Ran for state legislature – lost.
  • l832 Also lost his job – wanted to go to law school but couldn’t get in.
  • 1833 Borrowed some money from a friend to begin a business and by the end of the year he was bankrupt. He spent the next 17 years of his life paying off the debt.
  • 1834 Ran for state legislature again – won.
  • 1835 Was engaged to be married, but his sweetheart died and he was brokenhearted.
  • 1836 Had a total nervous breakdown and was in bed for six months.
  • 1838 Sought to become speaker of the state legislature – defeated.
  • 1840 Sought to become elector – defeated.
  • 1843 Ran for Congress – lost.
  • 1846 Ran for Congress again – this time he won – went to Washington and did a good job.
  • 1848 Ran for re-election to Congress – lost.
  • 1849 Sought the job of land officer in his home state – he was rejected.
  • 1854 Ran for Senate of the United States – lost.
  • 1856 Sought the Vice-Presidential nomination at his party’s national convention – received less than 100 votes.
  • 1858 Ran for U.S. Senate again – and again he lost.
  • 1860 Elected president of the United States.
  • And the rest? As they say, is history! (Well…that’s where history usually starts to discuss him!)


Monday Morning Perspective

“Ambition is the path to success. Persistence is the vehicle you arrive in.

-Bill Bradley

“Failure is only postponed success as long as courage ‘coaches’ ambition. The habit of persistence is the habit of victory.

-Herbert Kaufman

“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.

-Abraham Lincoln


Most people know very little of President Lincoln’s life “pre-presidency”. Yet, I’m confident that his experiences in failure were the very reason that he was able to lead this nation through such a tumultuous time, creating liberties for people that others would have shied away from, and finally being recognized as one of the most influential leaders in our history.

The truth of his story is that greatness is a byproduct of persistence when you have the courage to ignore impending failure and press onward anyway.

Lincoln knew how to pick himself up and carry on. It is perhaps the times when we are flat on our backs that we have the clearest vision of the way upward and onward.

May we all be as persistent in our pursuit of success. Just remember Lincoln- the man who went from laughable to legendary just by refusing to give in.

Have a wonderful week!

Warmest Regards,

Crystal Dyer

 © Crystal Dyer 2012. All rights reserved.

ISSN: 2158-1355


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