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Lincoln Was A Failure and Make Trouble Your Jam

lincoln-was-a-failureLincoln was a failure. He failed so well that he was one of our best Presidents. He certainly faced as much difficulty, opposition and trouble in office as any other.

I’ve received a few meaningful awards in my life and they probably aren’t the ones you’d expect. There are three that hold a special place in my heart. One is a “World’s Best Mom” award from my son. One an athlete/scholar award my senior year in high school (why that’s meaningful is a whole different post). And the third was an award at a time I really needed it.

Here’s the text on that award:


He failed in business in ’31.
He was defeated for state legislator in ’32.
He tried another business in ’33. It failed.
His fiancee’ died in ’35.
He had a nervous breakdown in ’36.
In ’43 he ran for congress and was defeated.
He tried again in ’48 and was defeated again.
He tried running for the Senate in ’55. He lost.
The next year he ran for Vice President and lost.
In ’59 he ran for the Senate again and was defeated.
In 1860, the man who signed his name A. Lincoln was elected the 16th President of the United States.

The difference between history’s boldest accomplishments and its most staggering failures is often, simply, the diligent will to persevere.

Recently, I heard a list of the top traits needed for life success and perseverance was one of them. Lincoln had it in spades. But, yesterday, I heard a slightly different take on his attitude. The TED talk below is well worth watching.

The idea of life built on a constant turning toward trouble to facilitate growth is a fascinating one. What would happen to your life if you practiced this idea even a little? How would you be different next January if you chose one trouble spot in your life to grow through each month of 2016? I’m not saying you should aim for Emancipation Proclamation kind of trouble, but what one smallish trouble area could you choose to tackle right now?trouble

What if you fail to un-trouble it? Success isn’t necessarily the goal, growth is. So, the answer becomes: try again. Persevere. Grow more.

And if you succeed? Don’t tell your mama I’m a bad influence, but I’d say go looking for more trouble.