You keep failing. It’s hard to hide at this point. What does it say about you when you keep failing? What are you going to do?
These are all reasonable questions to ask when you’re in a rough spot, finding, time and again, that things just keep not working out.
It’s true that some people are simply afraid of success. In fact, they actually feel comfortable with their lack of success. After all, if they didn’t have some sort of sorry tale to tell, what would they talk about?
But that’s not you…
You Keep Failing, But You’re Not Alone
…and that wasn’t Abraham Lincoln either. Check this out. Abraham Lincoln is the poster child of failure. He had more than his share of misfortune. But he persevered. He pushed forward and overcame many obstacles on his way to become the 16th President of the United States. In fact, you’re probably already more fortunate than ol’ Abe in that he grew up on the American frontier – difficult times, to be sure. And he was largely self-educated. America today is far different than in was in the early 1800s. At least some of that can be attributed to Abraham Lincoln’s contributions.
Here is a timeline highlighting many of Lincoln’s successes and failures along the way:
History professor Lucas Morel compiled this comparison from the Chronology in Selected Speeches and Writings/Lincoln by Don E. Fehrenbacher, ed., 1992.
|YEAR||FAILURES or SETBACKS||SUCCESSES|
|1832||Lost job; Defeated for state legislature||Elected company captain of Illinois militia in Black Hawk War|
|1833||Failed in business||Appointed postmaster of New Salem, Illinois; Appointed deputy surveyor of Sangamon County|
|1834||Elected to Illinois state legislature|
|1836||Had nervous breakdown||Re-elected to Illinois state legislature (running first in his district); Received license to practice law in Illinois state courts|
|1837||Led Whig delegation in moving Illinois state capital from Vandalia to Springfield; Became law partner of John T. Stuart|
|1838||Defeated for Speaker||Nominated for Illinois House Speaker by Whig caucus; Re-elected to Illinois House (running first in his district); Served as Whig floor leader|
|1839||Chosen presidential elector by first Whig convention; Admitted to practice law in U.S. Circuit Court|
|1840||Argues first case before Illinois Supreme Court; Re-elected to Illinois state legislature|
|1841||Established new law practice with Stephen T. Logan|
|1842||Admitted to practice law in U.S. District Court|
|1843||Defeated for nomination for Congress|
|1844||Established own law practice with William H. Herndon as junior partner|
|1846||Elected to Congress|
|1848||Lost renomination||(Chose not to run for Congress, abiding by rule of rotation among Whigs.)|
|1849||Rejected for land officer||Admitted to practice law in U.S. Supreme Court; Declined appointment as secretary and then as governor of Oregon Territory|
|1854||Defeated for U.S. Senate||Elected to Illinois state legislature (but declined seat to run for U.S. Senate)|
|1856||Defeated for nomination for Vice President|
|1858||Again defeated for U.S. Senate|
Compared to Abraham Lincoln, do you really keep failing?
So, you see, Lincoln had to take it upon himself to persevere, over and over. Success is rarely an easy path and what really counts, what really makes a difference is typically difficult. Otherwise, everyone would be doing it and it wouldn’t be all that special.
What does the fact that you keep failing say about you?
Are you and Lincoln all that different? You keep failing, as did he. 😉 All kidding aside, failure is a natural element on the path to success. Failure, in many regards should be respected. You took a chance. You created an opportunity from which to learn. You grow from your failures on the road to success.
So, rest assured, you will continue to make mistakes, keep failing. And, if you are who I think you are – reading to this point in this post – you will learn a few things along the way. As long as you persevere – don’t quit – you will reach your goal.
And it will be SWEET!
Enjoy the ride, my friend!
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If you’re interested in when I found myself asking the same question – “Why do I keep failing?” check out this post!