One of the most significant things Abraham Lincoln has taught us is that the only way you can fail is if you quit. Lincoln’s remarkable story exemplifies the power of determination, self-confidence and a never quit attitude.

Lincoln, the Most Successful Failure

Abraham Lincoln is regarded as the most successful president in the history of the US. His success did not, however, come on a silver platter. Lincoln had to get through numerous setbacks, but he refused to quit. His thirst for knowledge, patience and a positive attitude propelled him from being a symbol of failure to an iconic model of success and the power of hope.

One of Lincoln’s most significant challenges was growing up in poverty. His low-income family was kicked out of their home, forcing him to work to support them and depriving him of a formal education.

Lincoln’s Journey to Success

• Young Lincoln ventured into business, but failed when a store he had put up in 1832 struggled to make returns.

• On several occasions, young Lincoln lost his job and was unable to finance his education at law school.

• Thinking that business was not his best bet, he tried his hand in politics but lost when he ran for state legislature in 1843.

• Hungry for success, Lincoln got a loan from an associate. Unfortunately, the business failed to pick up, and by the end of that year, he was   declared bankrupt. As a result, he spent the next seventeen years paying off the loan.

• Despite his poor health following a life-threatening nervous breakdown, Lincoln got back into politics. He unsuccessfully took a shot at the state legislature speaker.

• A “never say die” Lincoln sought to become an elector but failed.

• In 1843, he ran for Congress but lost. A second attempt saw him elected. He was, however, unable to win reelection in the next term.

• Taking a break from politics, Lincoln unsuccessfully applied for a job with the states lands department.

• In 1854, he failed to capture a Senate seat for which he had run. He would lose again four years later.

• In what may be regarded as his most significant failure, Lincoln garnered less than 100 votes when he sought the vice president ticket at his party’s national convention in 1856.

Despite these setbacks, Lincoln’s perseverance and determination led him to being elected the 16th president of the United States of America. He persevered through every failure, choosing to see every setback as an opportunity to learn. The moral of Lincoln’s story is that nothing will stop a man with the right mental attitude. Failure will either destroy you or define you. So follow Lincoln’s example and learn from your failures, but don’t ever give up.

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