Monday, November 24, 2008


“My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure” – Abraham Lincoln.

Motivation is the ability to move from one failure to another without losing one’s energy and enthusiasm despite being confronted with hurdles. We can not define that people are motivated when they move from one success to another success. When success begets success we can not call it as motivation but when failure begets subsequent success then we can define as motivation. Motivation triggers the people to move ahead towards achieving anything and everything. To put it succinctly, motivation is the desire and drive that directs our energies and efforts in achieving our goals.

When we talk of motivation the famous personality comes into our mind is Abraham Lincoln, who was the 16th President and the first Republican president of America. He was a symbol of motivation as he underwent many failures right from birth to death. But nowhere his spirit was halted and no way had he stopped moving ahead all along his life. When we look at his biographical graph it is very obvious that it was low all along his life except at the fag end of his life where we find steep peak. Let us look at the list of his failures that provide insights and ideas about his unflagging determination and motivation.

Lincoln failed in business at age 22; defeated for Illinois State Assembly at age 23; failed again in business at age 24; suffered a nervous breakdown at age 27; defeated again for Speaker of the Illinois State Assembly at age 29; defeated again for presidential elector at age 31; defeated again for US Congress at age 34; defeated again for US Congress at age 39; defeated again for US Senate at age 46; defeated again for Vice president of the newly formed Republican party at age 47; defeated again for the US Senate when he ran against Stephen A. Douglas at age 49; elected President of the United States at age 51.

All the above failures did not deter him from dreaming big and doing big. He learnt lessons from his failures and he always failed differently which is an indication of experimenting creative and innovative ideas to reach the top slot. All along the way he was motivated with optimism that one day he would make it big. He rightly said, “I will prepare and some day my chance will come”.

Lincoln was less fortunate by birth as he was born to a poor farmer. He lost his beloved mother at the age of 10. He had to struggle for his living and learning right from his childhood. He was cared and brought up by his stepmother, Sarah Bush Johnston, who provided a fine model and who inspired the ambitious but unschooled boy to discipline and educate himself. He was self-educated.

He was initially underestimated by the people as he was viewed as a second graded and unworthy, ugly president by his looks. But nobody realized the hidden potential and strength of Licoln. Lincoln had his goals well set. He divided goals into short term and long term. It is basically because of his long term goals he was unmoved when faced with several failures in his life which can be treated as short term goals. Since his long term goal was well set and was very confident with his convictions that he would reach the right slot and top slot Lincoln kept putting his efforts and energies throughout his life.

Lincoln had exemplary courage and character. His ideas and insights are priceless and timeless. He was defeated seven times before becoming the President of America. He failed whether in his personal life, or in political life, or in professional life or in social. But he never quit his endeavors to achieve big in his life. He proved to the world that success is the product of successive setbacks. To put it in the words of Vincent Thomas "Vince" Lombardi, "Winners never quit and quitters never win."

Irrespective of our nationalities, let us all salute the highly motivated and inspirational legendary leader – Abraham Lincoln, on the eve of bicentennial birth celebrations to be held in Feb 2009.


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