remember Abraham Lincoln? what a loser..

Seriously..Abraham Lincoln lost EIGHT different elections, failed in business twice, and suffered a nervous breakdown..oh yeah..and then became one of the most influential men in American history.

Lincoln was a champion and he never gave up. Here is a 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.
  • 1832 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 this debt.
  • 1834 Ran for state legislature again – won.
  • 1835 Was engaged to be married, sweetheart died and his heart was broken.
  • 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 – rejected.
  • 1854 Ran for Senate of the United States – lost.
  • 1856 Sought the Vice-Presidential nomination at his party’s national convention – got less than 100 votes.
  • 1858 Ran for U.S. Senate again – again he lost.
  • 1860 Elected president of the United States. (from Roger Kapp website)

Lincoln could have given up several times in his lifetime..but he didn’t.

Lincoln could have gotten conservative and taken fewer risks..but he didn’t.

Lincoln did not back down..he kept working toward his goal..President of the United States of America.

Mike Foster of “People of the Second Chance” explains it this way:

After we have failed the tendency is to retreat into living a small life. Less risk. Safer moves. Fear based decisions.

I call it “Living Little” and it is a nasty thing. It’s a perfectly natural response after a failure but you’ve got to fight it.

If we live little we think we will avoid personal pain or prevent causing others pain due to our mistakes. Don’t fall for this type of thinking.

I totally embrace what James Cameron(Avatar, Titanic) had to say…

“Don’t put limitations on yourself. Other people will do that for you…failure has to be an option in art and exploration because it’s a leap of faith. In whatever you’re doing, failure is an option, but fear is not.”

People of the Second Chance don’t live little.

I love losers! Because we are all losers. Failure IS AN OPTION..BUT FEAR IS NOT!

  • How will you live after failure?
  • Big? or Little?

(and if you haven’t subscribed to The People of the Second Chance blog yet..jump there now and be encouraged.)

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  • Majety

    There is a mistake in the above written essay….in third line he said ‘one of the most influential men in American history’ its wrong.
    HE IS MOST INFLUENTIAL MAN AND PRESIDENT OF AMERICA STANDING IN FIRST PLACE.
    HE IS REGARDED AS FOREVER INFLUENTIAL PERSON.

  • Pingback: Too Big To Fail? (not really a political statement) « Random Thoughts From The Revolution()

  • Not bad article, but I really miss that you didn’t express your opinion, but ok you just have different approach

  • Blame it on my Illinois blood, but I’ve always admired ol’ Abe. I remember just being probably 8 or 9 when we went to his homeplace and learned all about him and even then, I was struck by his overcoming so much adversity in his life. One of many great examples of not giving up and persevering.

    And then, wasn’t Michael Jordan cut from the high school b.ball team? And Disney dismissed at some point for not being creative enough? And how many times has Bill Gates failed in his life?

    Another good quote is: “It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” ~Albert Einstein

    • I can feel where Einstein is coming from. And I can twist that last phrase a bit too.. “it’s just that I stay with problems longer”..I usually AM THE PROBLEM..therefore the problem stays with ME longer! So..as long as I am around..and I am the problem..I will fail..but I will never give up!

      How does the phrase go? “Wherever I go, there I am.” (just heard Jim Putman of Real Life Ministries quote this at Next Level Leadership Conference at Savannah Christian Church.)

  • Great points! We tend to lose sight of the fact that our failures often serve a greater purpose.

    • Kevin

      Almost had me there, Pastor! Lincoln shares a trait with many great men and women: He was an American, and being so fortunate, he had the opportunity and decency our God given society to fall and rise back up.
      There are great people all over the world, and all through history. But there has never been a nation or people so great as these United States.
      God Bless Us All

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