Motivation Articles

Increase Your Abe-ility

Former President Spent Life Persevering

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Abraham Lincoln. The name stirs up images of a nation torn apart and a presidency ended with a single, violent, vicious act. To many, the man also stands for an uncanny ability to overcome setbacks and succeed despite a long history of failure.

You might have heard the stories. Through a history of personal, business and political failures, a stormy marriage, and an unpopular presidency, he persevered. Click here to see a list of obstacles that perhaps no other president had to face. How could a man who went through all this adversity continue on? How could he consistently bounce back time after time? It would have been easy for Mr. Lincoln to fold up his tent and escape to an unremarkable, practical future.

Lincoln’s knack for wrestling genius from dispiriting failure is a familiar story to many of us. But what can we learn from how he overcame those obstacles? It was much more than persistence, after all. He possessed other characteristics, used other strategies that carried him through. Whether you have weight loss goals or other goals, you can learn from his approach to life.

Get Comfortable With Failure
A lifelong learner, Lincoln never passed up a chance to learn and grow. With just one year of formal education, he threw himself into reading and studying grammar, becoming an avid self-taught student. When he lost elections or businesses failed, he corrected what he could, learned how to do it better next time, and moved on. Do you view setbacks as learning opportunities or as the end of the road?

Know What You Know
From the time he was a kid, Lincoln knew he wanted to be president, and no stumbling block was going to permanently throw him off course. His simple background and upbringing gave him an unshakable belief in democracy and equality. By being true to who he was and never giving in to self-doubt, he had the chance to achieve great things. Do you have a clear vision for your goals and yourself?

Make the Most of Your Talents
Lincoln found something he was good at and used it for all it was worth to pursue his passion. Debating in his hometown debate club helped him discover a talent for the language that would serve him well his entire life. It was this debating skill that brought him a national reputation as an inspired leader and carried his name across the country. And it was his mastery of the written and spoken word that produced the most memorable phrases in our history, with meaning and impact that will last for centuries. What are you good at and how can you apply it to your goal?
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About The Author

Mike Kramer Mike Kramer
As a writer and artist, Mike has witnessed countless motivational stories and techniques. See all of Mike's articles.

Member Comments

  • MFC2013
    This was a really inspiring article. It was just what I needed today! Thanks so much! - 10/25/2013 11:03:32 AM
  • Lincoln is my favorite historical person and really an inspiration. Great article! - 6/29/2013 4:16:05 PM
  • Reading about someone else's setbacks that they walked away from is inspiring. Great to see people achieve their goals no matter what. - 6/29/2013 9:23:07 AM
  • Just what I needed to read today. - 7/20/2012 9:37:17 PM
  • truly someone to aspire to - 1/7/2012 8:00:52 PM
  • What a story to remember. :) He was truly a good man who never gave up!
    - 6/20/2011 11:26:01 AM
  • I enjoyed this article. Abraham Lincoln is a great role model for us all. - 1/24/2011 2:59:44 PM
  • Always love your articles, Mike. This one was no exception! What a great man Abraham Lincoln was. Inspiring!
    Jan - 12/25/2010 10:48:14 AM
  • Thank you for the article. Lincoln's story has a lot of inspiration for all of us. - 12/25/2010 8:30:08 AM
  • CANDIASCAN
    Excellent article..I believe that for those that have truly studied Lincoln, you would know that religion was a cornerstone of his character, however, having not studies him myself, I enjoyed just reading about the struggles that he dealt with that we all struggle with regardless of our religious affiliations or lack thereof. This is certainly an article that speaks to you about pushing past your difficulties, weight related or otherwise! Thanks for this, I will print it for future reading - 10/27/2010 2:25:58 PM
  • You nailed it, ETHNOSTUDENT--Lin
    coln would be appalled. To talk about Lincoln and leave out his faith is like talking about a whole different person than who Lincoln was. He never seemed to have any difficulty giving his thanks to God, including the establishment of Thanksgiving as a national holiday just for that purpose. How has this nation sunk so low? - 10/7/2010 9:04:02 AM
  • J-HALL
    I highly recommend reading "Lincoln's Melancholy: How depression challenged a president and fueled his greatness" by Joshua Wolf Shenk. Based on detailed research, Shenk shows how Lincoln suffered from chronic depression, and ultimately chose to consciously shift his goal away from personal contentment (which he realized he could not attain) and toward universal justice. Compelling and readable, it showed me that Lincoln was even more extraordinary than I knew. - 8/23/2010 5:11:08 PM
  • You leave out what I think was a major reason why Lincoln was able to persevere - he had a strong faith in God. - 8/13/2010 10:18:56 AM
  • This article reminds us once again that no matter how bad things seem in our lives, someone has always had worse. It is good to also be reminded that we should never give up and let setbacks convince us to give up our dreams. - 7/28/2010 7:39:36 PM
  • My favorite quote is by this wonderful man: "It seems to me that most folks are just as happy as they make up their minds to be."

    I tell people often: it's all in our attitude and we CHOOSE our emotions. I constantly work
    at reminding myself of the same thing! - 7/28/2010 2:10:33 PM

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