By Mike Wilcox
Perseverance is one of the most important quality traits. Too many of us give up at the slightest resistance and fail to accomplish our goals in life.
One of our greatest presidents, Abraham Lincoln, is an example of persevering against all odds. We all know him as the president who fought the Civil War to free the slaves, only to be shot and killed watching a play in Ford Theatre by John Wilkes Booth.
What many don’t know is the challenging life Lincoln endured. It began in 1816 when, at age 7, he was forced to go to work because his family was homeless and without food. Two years later he lost his mother. Ten years after that his sister died.
In 1835 he met and courted Ann Rutledge. It has been said she was he love of his life, but before they married she died.
Over the next decade, Lincoln started and failed at two businesses. One was a tavern at which his partner was a hopeless alcoholic. In 1836 he was in a state of deep depression and bedridden for six months.
Lincoln persevered, decided to forego his depression and run for election. He lost twice in the next two election cycles. He did eventually win a couple elections for state offices, only to lose when he tried to advance to Congress twice.
In 1842, he fell in love and married Mary Todd. She gives birth to four children. The second oldest, Eddie dies of tuberculosis at age 4. The second youngest, Willie, dies of a fever at age 12. The youngest, Thomas, dies at age 18 of heart failure.
In 1854 her ran for U.S. Senate but lost miserably. In 1856 his name was put in nomination for Vice-President. This time he lost to eventual presidents Millard Fillmore and James Buchanan. Buchanan won the VP nod.
In 1858 Lincoln threw his had the ring for U.S. Senator, representing Illinois. His opponent was Stephen Douglas. The two had seven debates, which some historians call the best in the history of campaigns. They were like boxing matches, with supporters yelling at each other while the two candidates tried to shout down one another.
Lincoln lost again, but that loss propelled him to enormous popularity. Two years later he was elected President of the United States.
Life is a series of ups and downs. You think you have faced adversity? Lincoln, who became the greatest president ever, likely faced much more than you. He grew up in poverty, lost three children to illness, lost the love of his life, went bankrupt twice and lost more elections than one has fingers
But the man kept trying. He let depression take him down once but rebounded and became mentally strong. He faced down adversity and eventually came out on top. The next time you feel life is not fair, remember our greatest president. His example lives on.
By Mike Wilcox