Here’s a slightly updated version of a classic article we first ran on March 22, 2015. Too many of us are afraid that if we try something new or different, we’ll fail. But some of the most successful people failed their way to success. I am reminded of a lesson that can be gleaned from the life of one of the most celebrated U.S. presidents: Failure is always temporary — unless you choose to make it permanent.
For 28 years of his life, Abraham Lincoln experienced one failure after another. In 1833, he had a nervous breakdown. When he ran for speaker of the state legislature in 1838, he was defeated. In 1848, he was not re-nominated to run for Congress. In 1849, his bid to become land officer was rejected.
But these failures didn’t stop him. In 1854, he was defeated in his senatorial run. Two years later, he lost the nomination for vice president, and two years after that, he was again defeated in a run for Senate. Then, in 1860, after this long string of failures, he was nominated for and won the highest office in the land.