Inspiration from Abraham Lincoln
Estimated Lesson Time: 3 minutes
Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) was the sixteenth President of the United States.
Success is having character. “We should be too big to take offense and too noble to give it.” • “Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.”
Success is knowing how to accept criticism and knowing enough not to criticize. “If I care to listen to every criticism, let alone act on them, then this shop may as well be closed for all other businesses. I have learned to do my best, and if the end result is good then I do not care for any criticism, but if the end result is not good, then even the praise of ten angels would not make the difference.” • “I am rather inclined to silence, and whether that be wise or not, it is at least more unusual nowadays to find a man who can hold his tongue than to find one who cannot.”
Success is consistently doing one’s best every day. “I never had a policy; I have just tried to do my very best each and every day.”
Success is realizing the true significance of failure. “My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.”
Success is understanding the secret to happiness. “Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”
Success is understanding the power of listening. “When I am getting ready to reason with a man, I spend one-third of my time thinking about myself and what I am going to say and two-thirds about him and what he is going to say.”
Success is knowing how to influence others. “When the conduct of men is designed to be influenced, persuasion, kind unassuming persuasion, should ever be adopted. It is an old and true maxim that ‘a drop of honey catches more flies than a gallon of gall.’ So with men. If you would win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are his sincere friend. Therein is a drop of honey that catches his heart, which, say what he will, is the great highroad to his reason, and which, once gained, you will find but little trouble in convincing him of the justice of your cause, if indeed that cause is really a good one.”
Success is knowing the futility of procrastination. “You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.”
Success is not showing envy toward another’s wealth. “Property is the fruit of labor...property is desirable...is a positive good in the world. That some should be rich shows that others may become rich, and hence is just encouragement to industry and enterprise. Let not him who is houseless pull down the house of another; but let him labor diligently and build one for himself, thus by example assuring that his own shall be safe from violence when built.”
[Sources: http://www.biography.com, http://www.whitehouse.gov]
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Some discussion questions (some may not apply to this lesson):
- Have you implemented this idea in your life? How has it been working for you?
- Do you have any interesting stories related to this lesson? Do tell!
- What do you admire most about this person? (success biography days)