What Abraham Lincoln Teaches Us About Failure


There’s no such thing as failure…unless you get stuck there.

If you saw the movie Lincoln, you probably walked away with an even deeper respect for Mr. Lincoln, particularly his ability to turn his failures and shortcomings into his greatest assets. He once said “My greatest concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.”

What does it mean to be “content” with failure? If anyone ever had the opportunity to “own” his failures it would have been Abraham Lincoln. Before being elected as our 16th president, he experienced two business failures, his sweetheart married someone else, he had a nervous breakdown, and he lost 6 separate political contests! Not only that, but he wasn’t from the “right side of the tracks.” Yet he went on to become arguably one of the greatest leaders of all time.

Perhaps you find yourself feeling defeated today. Or maybe you feel like you got your clock rung by some unexpected news. Or you are starting to feel like a failure: as a parent, as a spouse, in your career, or in business. Don’t get stuck there!

Here’s the truth… Each person has a heritage, a history, and a legacy. While you can’t do anything about your heritage and your history, you CAN do something about your legacy. It’s what will outlive you. Focus today on doing only those things that have permanence.