Coming Back From Defeat

Have you slipped? Have you made mistakes and you think it’s over. I love the following story about Abraham Lincoln;

He lost his first job as clerk in Denton Offutt’s store, when Offutt’s business enterprise collapsed. In 1833, Lincoln and Berry, a successor store, failed, leaving the partners in debt. Lincoln spent the next seventeen years of his life paying off the money he borrowed from friends to start his business. In 1832, in his first campaign for the state legislature, he finished eight from thirteen candidates. In a campaign document he stated that if he were to lose, he “was too familiar with disappointments to be very much chagrined.”

In 1835 Lincoln was engaged to be married, but his sweetheart died and his heart was broken.

In 1836 he had a nervous breakdown and spent six months confined to his bed. The middle part of Abraham Lincoln’s life was spent in Springfield. There he became a successful lawyer and made a brief foray into national politics. He still faced identity issues. He broke off his engagement to Mary Todd and, as a result, experienced a profound depression. However a year later he reconnected with Mary and he went on to marry her in November of 1842. Lincoln and Mary had four children.

In 1836, Lincoln won election to Congress. After his term ended, Lincoln spent the next five years focusing on his law practice. In 1854, he came back to the political arena and one of the first things he did was to oppose the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which threatened to extend slavery to other states. In 1855 Lincoln ran for the Senate but was defeated. The next year he ran for vice President and was also defeated. Lincoln’s years of persistence and hard work eventually paid off in 1860 when he was elected as the sixteenth President of the United States of America. However, failure characterized the first two years of Lincoln’s Presidency. The radicals pushed him to declare emancipation a war aim while conservatives tried to pull him away from making it a “a war about the Negro.” His party suffered losses in the mid-term elections. Gradually, Lincoln grew into the President who saved America.

All of us can come back from. miserable defeats.

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