Here’s a shining example of Why Defeat is just a Detour in our Journey.
Consider the life of someone who refused to quit—in spite of setback after setback during a life of struggle:
■ When he was seven years old, his family had to give up their farm and move to a neighboring state. Like other children of the time he performed physical chores to carry his weight.
■ Just two years later, when he was nine, his mother passed away.
■ At the age of 22, in spite of personally doing a fine job, he found himself thrown out of work when the company he worked for had to close down.
■ At 23, he ran for state legislature and lost, coming eighth in a field of 13 candidates.
■ At 24, he borrowed money so that he could open a general store. Competing against a bigger and better-run store led to the collapse of the business. He couldn’t pay back his loan, and his possessions were seized by the sheriff. Nevertheless, when his friend and business partner died penniless he insisted on taking over the other half of the debt. It took him several years to pay it all off.
■ At 25, he ran again for a seat in the state legislature—and won. Out of 13 candidates he achieved the second highest vote total.
■ At 26, his sweetheart (some even suggest his fiancée) suddenly died, affecting him profoundly.
■ At 29, he lost his campaign to become speaker of the state legislature.
■ At 34, he tried to win his party’s nomination to run for a seat in Congress—and failed.
■ At 35, he tried again and this time succeeded in becoming a Congressman.
■ At 39, as there was a one-term-limit rule, he found himself out of a job—even though by all accounts he had performed admirably.
■ At 40, he failed in his bid to become commissioner of the General Land Office, a federal position of power and prestige.
■ At 45, he failed in his effort to be chosen to represent his state in the U.S. Senate.
■ At 47, he was nominated at his party’s national convention to run for the Vice Presidential spot. He lost.
■ At 49, he was favored to be his party’s choice for a U.S. Senate seat but his party failed to gain control of the state legislature, making him unsuccessful again.
■ But, at 51 Abraham Lincoln, was elected as the 16th president of the United States. Four years later he was re-elected.
As another wise man once said, “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
Yes, a good part of the life of one of our most famous presidents consisted of failures and setbacks. And, of course, in a rollercoaster political career he had successes, too. But, for Lincoln, a defeat was just a detour on his journey. Each loss, each rejection, simply generated more impetus to keep moving forward.
What drove him? His father was a simple frontier farmer; his mother died young. But Lincoln had soaring ambition. His law partner called him “a little engine that knew no rest.” Lincoln had a burning desire to become accomplished and successful and to leave his mark on the world. He certainly did that. He was never a quitter.
As he even once said, “That some achieve great success is proof to all…that others can just achieve the very same success themselves.”
So, if you’re struggling, if you’ve encountered setbacks after setbacks, take heart from this example and you’ll quickly realize, you have no reason to give up and chase that dream.
Make your dot count.
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