Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other one thing. ~ Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln knew how to fail big. He also knew how to win.
The path to success in anything will always be riddled with potholes and treacherous drop-offs. Slipping and stumbling along the way at least means you’re on the road. It also means that you’re learning what not to do, so as you progress down the path you keep a sharper eye out for anything that could trip you up.
You learn the warning signs and you arm yourself with the tools you need to make it to the top.
But it’s not easy.
Very little worth having comes easy—if it does, I’d start looking for the scam or the Candid Camera crew—and when things are tough, we get tired. We start to doubt ourselves and our resolve and wonder why we’re putting ourselves through this punishment. Who wants to trip and fall and stumble all the time?
We start to wonder if the end goal is really worth it. Is it worth all of the time, energy, frustration, money, missed (insert whatever you have to give up here), late nights, early mornings, and pain?
Ask yourself how you’ll feel a year from now—two years, ten years, when you’re ninety—if you don’t stick with it. How will you feel if you give up on this dream?
If the answer is, “Thank God I didn’t waste any more time on that crazy idea.” Then go forth and be happy and do something else.
If your future self is more likely to curse you out for not sticking with it, to berate you for failing to believe in yourself, to pester one and all with your stories of regret for the dream you gave up, then go forth and be happy knowing that you’re doing what you’re meant to do.
Setbacks will happen. Pain will happen. Failures. Will. Happen.
But you will—most likely, assuming we’re not talking about death-defying acts of acrobatics and the like—survive. And you will come out on the other side stronger and wiser and closer than ever to your goal.
I thought that today, on Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, it might be relevant and helpful to remind you of the many failures and setbacks of the famous U.S. president.
(Click here for a list.)
Lincoln was met with disaster and defeat repeatedly. Interestingly, these often came just before success.
I think the only difference between him and other people who face setbacks is that he kept moving forward toward his goal, in spite of the obstacles. He knew what he wanted and he kept going after it like a K-9 on the scent. Unwavering, single-minded, focused. (Or so I’ve read. It’s not like I knew the guy.)
Even if it’s all a myth, let’s use it as a model, shall we?
Go forth and fail madly and happily on your way to your dream.
I dare you.
Image credits: (1) Brocken Inaglory CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), via Wikimedia Commons
(2) Mick Garratt CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0), via Wikimedia Commons
(3) By Sister72 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/sis/514293861/) CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), via Wikimedia Commons