Since officially launching the blog last week, I’ve already received some great feedback, especially from friends who never really knew my whole SDI/US Government story. However the response from some of my closest friends was what I found most amusing. There were certainly congratulations and other words of encouragement, but they always seemed to be followed with something along the lines of, “so what else are you going to write?”
I guess the best thing about writing a blog is that I get to write about whatever I want, (and most that know me well, know that I pretty much do whatever I want anyways) but my goal here is to create something that can help others overcome their own adversity by sharing the lessons I learned and the stories I heard which helped me overcome mine.
During the many moments of my trial when I was totally overwhelmed and ready to give up, I often found comfort and encouragement in learning about the adversity that some of the most successful people we know have overcome. It was one of the most effective and most productive distractions I had. The person who stands out in my mind more than any other is a man who overcame an adversity much greater than any of us will ever encounter in our wildest nightmares, but his successes were even greater still. Our 16th president, Abraham Lincoln truly is our national icon, and I would be foolish to attempt to discuss all that he was able to accomplish in a blog post, considering there are over 15,000 books written about him.
Obviously, we are also all well aware of the major adversity that Lincoln overcame, but I was surprised to find out about some of the more relatable and more personal adversity he faced. Before becoming president, Lincoln lost eight elections, he failed in business twice, and he even had a nervous breakdown. However, he clearly knew the Ten Magic Words, and he did not give up. One of my favorite Abraham Lincoln Adversity Story of his is quite popular (and often written incorrectly) in business and motivational blogs. The book “Recollected Words of Abraham Lincoln” by Ed and Virginia Fehrenbacher quote it as below:
“For such an awkward fellow, I am pretty surefooted. It used to take a pretty dexterous man to throw me. I remember the evening of the day in 1858 that decided the contest for the Senate between Mr. Douglas and myself was something like this: dark, rainy, and gloomy. I had been reading the returns and had ascertained that we had lost the legislature and started to go home. The path had been worn hog-back and was slippery. My foot slipped from under me, knocking the other one out of the way, but I recovered myself and lit square, and I said to myself, “It’s a slip and not a fall.””
So whenever you start feeling bad about the adversity you face, look for a penny, and let it remind you that while your issue may feel like it’s larger than life, and impossible to overcome, there have been others who have overcome greater adversity and thrived. On your path, there will be many times when you may slip, but it’s just a slip, not a fall. Never Give Up!