Success – Abraham Lincoln – Did His Failures Empower Him to Be Successful?

John R Powell asked:




Lincoln is generally regarded as the greatest of our American presidents. His success as president was particularly interesting, because of the amount of personal and professional failure he had in his life. This list has been published many times over the years to illustrate his failures. I’ve included some success in the list to give a more accurate picture.

Here then is the list of Lincoln’s failures and successes:

1818 His mother died when he was young.

1831 He failed in business.

1832 Ran for state legislature and lost.

1832 Lost his job. He 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. What happened next says a lot about his character. He spent the next 17 years repaying that debt.

1834 Ran for state legislature and won.

1835 He was engaged to be married and the lady he dreamed of marrying died.

1836 Had a total nervous breakdown and was in bed for six months.

1837 Became a law partner of John T. Stuart.

1838 Ran for speaker of the state legislature and lost.

1839 Chosen presidential elector by first Whig convention. Admitted to practice law in U.S. Circuit Court.

1840 Argues first case before Illinois Supreme Court. Re-elected to Illinois state legislature.

1840 Tried to become and elector, but was defeated.

1842 Admitted to practice law in U.S. District Court.

1843 Ran for Congress and lost.

1844 established own law practice with William H. Herndon as junior partner.

1846 Ran for Congress again, and won. He went to Washington and did a good job.

1848 Ran for reelection and lost.

1849 Tried t become land officer in his home state and was rejected.

1854 ran for Senate of the United States and lost.

1856 Sought the Vice-Presidential nomination at his party’s national convention and got less than 100 votes.

1860 Elected President of the United States.

In that list you see that he was a man who was acquainted with struggle, defeat and sorrow. Think about that. During his presidency, more than any other man that has ever sat in the White House, he knew more struggle, more defeat and more sorrow. Don’t you think that all of the failure on his resume preceding the presidency is what prepared him best for the unique struggles that he endured while president.

Lincoln benefitted from his failures. In a very material way, all Americans of the time also benefitted from his failures. It was the process he went through that made him the man that America needed during what is probably the most difficult point in the history of our nation.

On a personal level, don’t you think you might be able to benefit in the long run from your failures?

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4 Responses to “Success – Abraham Lincoln – Did His Failures Empower Him to Be Successful?”

  1. John Sakeiyia says:

    A very inspiring and encouraging story about Abraham Lincoln. He is actually one of the men I admire most. I thank the Lord for a man like Abraham Lincoln. Thanks for sharing this with us. God bless you.

  2. Davidms says:

    This is really motivating…

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