Not willing to let life kick him in his teeth he set out to find his own path in life at the age of 21. With extreme purpose and intent he went out to find work in all kinds of industries, but failed to ever find enough passion to keep him at one job to long. After jumping from job to job, accumulating extreme debt, and having no success he decided to take a new path, that path was in legislation.
Being defeated during his first election taught him two things. Never give-up, and for the first time he discovered what his passion was. He found himself enthusiastic about law, legislation and his country.
I can only imagine it was like watching a butterfly emerge from a cocoon, but like the butterfly struggles to break free of its ugly shell before it is totally free of its past so did he.
Teaching himself grammar and mathematics he went on to take the bar exam, he passed and began practicing law. After a twenty year run he had made a name for himself as one of the most honest lawyers in the area.
Feeling the profound effects of success he fell in love with a beautiful young woman who passed away before their romance could even blossom. Feeling depressed and half-hearted about life after her death, he did propose to another woman, but she turned him down.
According to historical records he was able to mend his broken heart and fell in love with what would become known as his one and only true love of his life. He proposed, she accepted, but before wedding bells went off their relationship abruptly ended and it sent him into the deepest depression he had ever had in his life. Truly loving her, they eventually reunited and married.
Together they had four children all but one dying before they even reached adulthood. Another terrible chapter in his book of life.
So far, he had tasted a bit of success, and a lot of failure and at age forty, having lost his mother, lost his first sweetheart, failed in business twice, lost elections, suffered a breakdown and bankrupt, he decided he still had a chance at success.
He ran for speaker of the state legislator, lost. Sought to become an elector, and was defeated. He ran for congress and lost. He tried again, and this time he won! However, he ran again and was not reelected. So he sought the job of land officer in his home state but was rejected and went on to run for the senate and lost again.
He was a man who did not understand defeat and even though he was rejected so many times he mustered his courage and made a bid for vice president of the United States, sadly he got less than 100 votes.
Giving it one more try he then ran again for the senate and lost. Marking yet another failure in his life.
Here is what is amazing about this story. Somewhere amid all the defeat, the heartache, the rough times and the failure emerged a seed of greatness that no one could have seen had he not kept pushing forward. The rest of the world might have seen him as one tremendous flop , but he saw himself as a leader, and now years later we see him as one of the greatest Presidents in US history.
Abraham Lincoln. What would our world look like if he had given up? Failure is what failure is, it is a chance to try again!