He wasn’t able to speak until he was almost 4 years old and his teachers said he would, “never amount to much” – Albert Einstein
After being cut from his high school basketball team, he went home, locked himself in his room, and cried – Michael Jordan
Fired from a newspaper for “lacking imagination” and “having no original ideas” – Walt Disney
At 30 years old, he was left devastated after being unceremoniously removed from the company he started – Steve Jobs
Was demoted from her job as a news anchor because she “wasn’t fit for television” – Oprah Winfrey
Rejected by Decca recording studios, who said, ”We don’t like their sound-they have no future in show business” – The Beatles
All leaders in their field, with most people knowing something of their impact in sport, business, music, science and entertainment.
Yet all faced considerable rejection and failure………and persevered through to the place of impact and breakthrough.
I want to focus on one man’s remarkable story of perseverance. – Abraham Lincoln
Often people get discouraged and quit when with just a little more perseverance they could have attained something special. Abraham Lincoln is a great illustration of the power of perseverance, as he had terrible and persistent heartache and defeat throughout this life, yet made history and changed the course of America.
A summary of his heartaches and defeats comprise an interesting list:
1) Prior to marrying Mary Todd, Lincoln’s original love was Ann Rutledge who passed away at the age of 22. Lincoln’s mother had died when he was just nine years old and later his sister Sara died in childbirth.
2) Of his and Mary Todd Lincoln’s four sons, two died as children during Lincoln’s lifetime, each of those deaths causing him enormous agony.
3) Until Lincoln was 21 years of age, his father sent him to labor for others, and then kept the wages his son earned. As an illiterate man the father saw no importance in Lincoln’s education.
4) Lincoln suffered from inferiority from his lack of formal education which ended with a partial year of grade school. He was often confronted by men from aristocratic families; those men having the best formal education money could buy, while he was self-taught.
5) Lincoln also suffered from inferiority over his appearance, which was mocked as being terribly ugly by some writers and political cartoonists among others. Some saw him as being gorilla like, while some others saw him as uneducated and ignorant, just a country bumpkin way out of his league in national politics.
6) In business, Lincoln failed twice, as a politician he lost eight elections and he suffered a nervous breakdown, bedridden for six months, as fears, doubts and uncertainties lived within his soul.
7) No surprise, Lincoln suffered from depression throughout his adult life.
8) As president during the U.S. Civil War (1861-1865), Lincoln was often criticized for the incompetence of his generals, particularly in the early years as battlefield defeats mounted and the death toll was stunning. Lincoln wrote one of the most famous speeches in history, The Gettysburg Address, as he poured his heart out, trying to make sense of it all.
9) Lincoln was haunted by a New Orleans slave auction he saw as a young man, the impact of which he never got over, and he witnessed the price in blood, black soldiers paid in the Civil War, with the hope of freeing their race.
As President, not only did Lincoln write and issue the Emancipation Proclamation that restricted slavery, but as the Civil War was ending in 1865, he initiated the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, outlawing U.S. slavery forever.
But what Lincoln achieved could not have happened had it not been for his perseverance and his heartache and defeats, which he harnessed very effectively in ways that touch our lives today.
Pursue your dreams and don’t let discouragements or criticism from others defeat you. Just as Lincoln had, you too have special talents that beckon to you to be used for great accomplishment.
Here’s to courage, wisdom and perseverance as you pursue your dreams