He’s one of the most celebrated people in history. He triumphed in changing the course of a nation, and we know him all throughout the world. You can find his face on a certain bill. And yet, his life was one of the cruellest.
How bad did he have it? Let’s take a look at his timeline.
At age 9…
He lost his mother at 9, so he had to drop out of school to support his family. That same year a horse kicked in his head putting him in a coma for many months.
At age 21…
At 21, his business partner died; leaving him an enormous debt and a failing business. The next year, he lost his first political run.
At age 24…
At 24, after trying his hand at business for a second time, he utterly failed and lost his savings.
At age 26…
At 26, the love of his life died; the next year, he had a nervous breakdown.
At age 34 and 36…
At 34 and 36, he lost two consecutive congressional political races.
At age 45 and 57…
At 45 and 47, he lost two consecutive senatorial political races. Not to mention missing out on securing the Vice Presidential position.
His entire life
He battled unabating depression.
At age 56…
He was shot in the head and died.
He was Abraham Lincoln.
Despite his hardships, Lincoln never gave up.
Did he know he would be president after losing 5 political races?
Did he think he would address a nation, loosening the shackles of slavery with the delivery of his emancipation proclamation despite battling his depression?
Did he believe he would triumph over slavery and arguably the most famous civil war in history when the love of his life left him so early?
Lincoln’s life was hard. After clawing his way against all odds to the presidency, what was his bounty? Four years of brutal war and a bullet to the head.
The three truths that set Lincoln apart
To never give up
In a life defined by adversity, he only needed to drop his head once, and history wouldn’t be the same. He never did.
If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.Martin Luther King Jr.
To always do what you can
Life isn’t fair, and it never will be. Fate wasn’t Lincoln’s friend. Yet, he played the cruellest joke on fate. He defied her with nothing more than a knack for playing the hand he was dealt; and as good as any man could.
Even if one’s hands are cut off, one finds they can yet serve their side by standing firm and cheering them on.Seneca
To serve a master greater than yourself – humanity
Lincoln’s fire was always burning. The flames fed by a purpose greater than himself; to better his fellow man, woman and child.
We journey trying to find ourselves when we were never lost; instead, it is our humanity that’s been misplaced. Serving yourself brings pleasure, but serving humanity brings happiness.
What is good for the hive is good for the bee.Marcus Aurelius