Abraham Lincoln can teach us about Life

Abraham Lincoln was the 16th president of the United States and he was one of the most practical men that ever lived. His practical approach to life made him a successful president and helped him to lead the new nation into victory in the infamous civil war. In the 21st century, we can still learn life-changing lessons from this great historical figure.

1. Live to be the best you can in Life

“I don’t know who my grandfather was; I am much more concerned to know what his grandson will be.”

“You have to do your own growing no matter how tall your grandfather was.”

In other words, it does not matter what your grandfather did or how famous he was. You have to strive to be the best person you can be in life. You must develop your own legend, reputation and you must make your own mark in life. You cannot ride on your grandfather’s coattails or his legend you must carve out your own legend in life.

You must have the confidence to live your own life and be your own man. You want people to remember what you accomplished in life, how you influenced people, and you want to be remembered as your own classic man. Lincoln passed away 154 years ago, on April 15, 1865, and he’s still a role model for many.

2. Don’t put off what you can do today

“Leave nothing for tomorrow which can be done today.”

“You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.”

The economy of time is what Abraham Lincoln is emphasizing so what you can accomplish today don’t put off until tomorrow because your projects will take that much longer. Abraham Lincoln accomplished much in his life following this advice. If you really want to maximize your life every day then follow his example.

3. Be the Best you can be at whatever you do

“Whatever you are, be a good one.”

This should be self-actualizing and self-evident in this world today but unfortunately, it is not. It was common sense to Abraham Lincoln to excel and give his best effort in whatever he did. Take him as President, for example, he gave his best every day of his presidency. Look at what one of the outcomes of that philosophy was; he was instrumental in ending the civil war and he set the black slaves free. One thing about Abraham Lincoln was that he lived out the advice he gave to others. He had a very productive life as history records.

4. Other People are not responsible for your Happiness

“Every man’s happiness is his own responsibility.”

We learn from this quote that no other person on this earth is responsible for our happiness it is our responsibility. Abraham Lincoln knew that other people were not dependable or capable of making him happy. He realized that happiness is a frame of mind and that he had to keep his perspective positive and healthy. By maintaining this frame of mind he was able to stay healthy and happy. Consider the time when he was President; it was one of the darkest times in this nation’s history-the civil war.

All the death, carnage and destruction that surrounded him on a daily basis; it was quite an accomplishment for him to maintain a positive disposition. If we suffer from depression or negative thinking we need to adopt this way of thinking it will help us to live healthier lives.

5. Dream your dreams and Plan for your Dreams

“I will prepare and someday my chance will come.”

This man followed his own advice as he ran for the Senate and he did not win but he stuck with it and he eventually ran for the highest office in the United States. We all know the result and he became one of the most famous historical figures this country has ever known.

He did not always have success in his political life, especially in the early years. But he stayed with it and he ended up having a very successful Presidential career.

Overcoming Failure in Life

We can learn how to turn bleak failures into successes by studying Lincoln’s early political and legal life. He had been elected to the Illinois state legislature for four terms and then he ran a 5th time but he lost. After serving in the assembly all those years he finally lost an election. The root of this failure was that people had blamed Lincoln for the poor economic conditions that hit Illinois.

He had supported improving the infrastructure of Illinois while he was in the legislature. He wanted to advance every man’s lot in life. Unfortunately, the state fell into an economic depression. The result of a lot of projects such as railroads, bridges, and roads we abandoned. This took place in the last three years of Lincoln’s time as an Illinois legislator. The result was that thousands of people lost their homes and a lot of banks and brokerages closed. Lincoln, was personally blamed for the downturn. He ran into personal economic ruin and professional ruin.

He broke of his romance with Mary Owens because he feared he could not support her. He was in his 30’s when all these hard times fell on him. He became so depressed that his friends thought he would commit suicide. He stopped eating but deep down inside he really never gave up. But he stayed in bed and he stopped eating as we mentioned above. He sunk deeper into depression to the point he could not carry out his duties as a legislator.

He started a business partnership (he became a lawyer) with Steven Logan, who at the time was the leading lawyer in the country. Logan, said ,“It does not depend on the start a man gets…it depends on how he keeps up his labors and efforts until middle life.” Lincoln, took this advice to heart and started his road to recovery and eventually he became very successful.

He realized his knowledge of the law was lacking. He began studying law books until 2:00 a.m. in the morning by candlelight. He would get up earlier than his peers and study the law. He became so proficient in practicing law that he and Logan established the largest law practice in Illinois. He could take complex legal concepts and break them down into simple terms that any man could understand.

He became so proficient at explaining legal concepts to jurors through storytelling that he made the jury believe they were trying the case and not Lincoln. He became a very successful lawyer after his depression. He had failed miserably in his personal and professional life a few years earlier. He recovered from the depression and he became one of the most successful lawyers in Illinois. He turned his life around financially and professionally.

The life lesson we take away from this is that no matter how much we fail or fall into a depression that if we keep a deeply embedded positive attitude we can come out of the depression and if we have failed financially or professionally we can recover from these failures and turn our lives around and succeed.

Lincoln, had said that no man can make us happy. And he did suffer from very severe depression but he did recover and he shows us that only we can make and keep ourselves happy. You can have every person talk to you in the world about staying happy but unless you decide to be happy you will never be happy. You are the answer to your happiness and only you keeping a positive frame of mind will keep you happy.

Leadership Lessons we can learn from Lincoln’s example

Let us start this section with this introduction: “Historian and author Doris Kearns Goodwin made a career of chronicling the lives and careers of America’s greatest leaders. Her most recent book, Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln is a play-by-play of Lincoln’s ability to manage in the face of crisis and bring the country together after being torn apart by the Civil War. He was able to do that in part by forming an inner circle of former political enemies, something no one expected.”

First off, we learn that Lincoln was a very successful leader because he was able to maintain a level head and manage in the midst of crisis. And according to, Doris Kearns Goodwin, he was also a successful leader because he surrounded himself with people who were more well-known than he was. He knew they would debate with him and they were all from the same party. He knew this would make him a better leader because he would be in touch with the party’s issues.

He also had a quiet confidence that would benefit him when he was attacked verbally by the opposition. This quiet confidence would allow him not to lose his confidence in his ability to be a prolific leader despite these vicious attacks from the opposition. Here we have some lessons about his character that if we apply to our own lives (especially if we are in leadership positions) could change our lives and the way we approach leadership. Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth on April 14.

Conclusion: Abraham Lincoln, lived over 150 years ago but his life still speaks volumes to us today. We can take many lessons from his life and apply them to our lives today. We have covered just a few lessons from his life that could change our lives for the rest of our lives and there are many more lessons we can derive from Abraham Lincoln’s life that would change our lives if we would let them.