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What Abraham Lincoln taught me about failure

Abraham Lincoln encountered many failures, before becoming president

Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States

In 1831, Abraham Lincoln failed in business.

In 1832, Abraham Lincoln was defeated for state legislator.

In 1833, Abraham Lincoln tried a new business, and failed.

In 1835, Abraham Lincoln’s fiancée died.

In 1836, Abraham Lincoln had a nervous breakdown.

In 1843, Abraham Lincoln ran for congress and was defeated.

In 1848, Lincoln ran again, and was defeated. Again.

In 1855, Lincoln ran for the Senate, and lost.

In 1856, Lincoln ran for Vice President, and lost.

In 1859, Lincoln ran again for the Senate. He was defeated.

Then, in 1860, Abraham Lincoln was elected President of the United States.

What matters most is not how many times you fail, but that you never stop trying.


Photo credit:
Alexander Gardner
Silver Gelatin Print
Color, James Nance
February 5, 1865
Washington D.C.
M-97, O-116
Copyright 2002 Nance

Unrestricted copyright usage from:

10 replies
  1. The Unconquered
    The Unconquered says:

    Funny, I hear people do a similar argument about George W. Bush and say that’s why he was such a lousy president. Now that I think about it, while George W. Bush was not my favorite president (and neither was Lincoln, btw, I prefer Washington and Jefferson personally) — Bush was very familiar with Lincoln’s story and he did compare his life story to Lincoln’s, IIRC. And I gotta hand this to Bush — it’s true that neither President was popular in his time.

    Dunno what my point is — it’s not to say Bush is “TEH AWESUM!” nor that “BUSH IS WHY THIS COUNTRY IS A MESS.” Just got me pondering about the similarities, and what history books will say about this time in our country’s history a few generations from now.

    KAMAL KUMAR says:

    Yes, I liked it and I too hardly believe in this . But sometimes what I think and often I ask to myself that ”IS IT PRACTICALLY POSSIBLE IN THE MODERN WORLD?” Now a days in this busy world everybody is busy from morning till night. then is it possible for anybody to choose a person as legacy?

  3. Rama Hoetzlein
    Rama Hoetzlein says:

    His life story is much more complex than many defeats followed by a major win. This can be easily verified on the wikipedia page for Lincoln. He had many devastating problems, not entire uncommon for the mid 19th century, and perhaps more than most, but he also had several winning moments – certainly not just one. Teaching himself law, becoming a lawyer, election to state legislature in 1834, serving in the House in 1846. There were many successes before he become president.

  4. Senoga Kenedy
    Senoga Kenedy says:

    Great precedence of a person who failed most and finally came to be on top. It gives courage to all of us in this World of trying what will make us live and servive.

  5. louis vuitton yayoi kusama ebay
    louis vuitton yayoi kusama ebay says:

    I seldom comment, but i did a few searching and wound up here Life-Engineering Abraham Lincoln encountered
    failure after failure, before becoming president of the United States.
    And I do have 2 questions for you if you don’t mind. Is it just me or does it appear like a few of the comments appear as if they are written by brain dead folks? :-P And, if you are posting at additional places, I would like to keep up with anything fresh you have to post. Would you list of the complete urls of your shared pages like your twitter feed, Facebook page or linkedin profile?


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  1. […] builds when we try again. Take for example the great heroes of history, such as, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Edison, Winston Churchill, Colonel Sanders and many […]

  2. […] Abraham Lincoln was a failed businessman and lost numerous times in government elections before finally becoming President…. […]

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