Overcoming Disappointments


I too have felt it … the negative emotion that creeps up inside you after putting yourself out there and not being chosen.  Some of us give up and decide that the system is fixed.  We share our disappointment with all of our friends and family and proclaim that the system is rigged and just not fair.  After some research on Abraham Lincoln,   I now know that this attitude will not help me with my personal goals.

Lincoln’s troubles began in 1816 when he and his family were forced out of their home.  Then two years later his mother died.  Apparently Lincoln’s path to success included multiple failures. In the end he did succeed in his personal goals, but along the way he failed in business, ran for state legislature where he did not win, lost his job, went bankrupt, was engaged to be married and his fiancé died; and then he had a nervous breakdown.

Overcoming those problems, Lincoln ran for six other public offices from Land Officer in his home state to the Senate and again, he lost.  In 1856 Lincoln sought the nomination for Vice President of the United States and could not even get 100 votes.  He finally managed to become a State Legislator, and then a Congressman, and in 1860, President of the United States.

I am sure that President Lincoln felt that same self-defeating emotion creep up inside of him after putting himself out there and being rejected.  But one can see that Mr. Lincoln did not give up.  His actions emphasized that it is not what happens to you in life, but how you react.

Check out this short video on overcoming obstacles and let me know if you too have decided to fight the negative emotions that can block your personal success.

Janis Burl is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.

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richard regan

I sure wish Mr. Lincoln could have helped indigenous people with some of the disappointments he inflicted upon them.

The President who freed the slaves could not see fit to view American Indians in the category of people who are created equal.

Dee Brown in his book, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, talks about how Lincoln was responsible for the largest mass execution in US History. In 1862, Lincoln commissioned the hanging of 38 Dakota Sioux prisoners in Makato, MN. Charged with crimes with little proof, many of these captives were non-violent cultural or religious leaders of their Tribe.

Lincoln also had the audacity in 1863 to say to a group of American Indian Chiefs who were visiting him in Washington, DC, “We are not as a race so much disposed to fight and kill one another as our Red Brethren.” These American Indians must have been puzzled by such a statement since by that time, 300,000 had died during the Civil War that happened on Lincoln’s watch.

Lincoln signed the Homestead Act and the Pacific Railway Act of 1862 which guaranteed the loss of land, natural resources, culture and language for American Indians.

Lincoln’s Indian Office to be later called the Bureau of Indian Affairs never took their government to government relationship seriously with Tribes which led to corruption among Indian agents who often stole provisions and other resources earmarked for American Indians.

The 1863 Lincoln administration was responsible for the removal of Navajos and Mescalero Apaches from the New Mexico Territory. By the time a treaty had been signed, nearly 2,000 Navajos died as a result of this relocation. Some folks call this Lincoln’s “Trail of Tears.”

W. Dale Mason describes Lincoln’s policy toward American Indians as one of “wards of the government.” He never viewed the civil rights of American Indians in the same way he viewed civil rights for African Americans. For American Indians, there was no Emancipation Proclamation under Lincoln.

In Indian Country where I am from, Lincoln is not a role model for anything.

Janis Burl

Richard, thanks for taking the time to read my blog. I am sure that we can agree that no man or woman is perfect. However, I do believe that there are lessons to be learned from everyone. Even if the lesson learned, is what not to do.

Anita Pelley

Great blog post Janis. Lincoln is one of my father’s heroes for exactly the reasons you cited – he failed more than he succeeded and it was his perseverance that led to success.