Often hailed as the greatest president, Abraham Lincoln was a strong leader throughout American history. His impact on America helped to abolish slavery and brought the Union back together. His contributions to the American society will never be forgotten and that Lincoln was one of the most effective leaders in world history is a notion fully supported by his extraordinary accomplishments.
He was a distinguished political figure and his fundamental character traits are what made him remarkably influential in my life.
Abraham Lincoln was very honest man. For example, One day Abraham counted his earnings and realized he had short changed a customer. He would have definitely been tempted to pocket the pennies or at least resolve to return the money the next time the customer came in. But neither dishonesty nor delay won. He walked many miles to return the pennies to the customer that same day. Another example would be, during his law practice on the Wabash Circuit, Lincoln was noted for honesty. In one case a witness lied under oath, clearing Abe’s client. But he requested the testimony be stricken, saying, “I do not wish to win in this way.” His honesty, even though staring at victory straight in the eye, is truly honourable.
Another important trait of Abraham Lincoln which has taught me a lot was his humility. Perhaps his lack of formal education and deep losses contributed to his humble outlook. He worked hard to teach himself a broad general education but faced numerous defeats before becoming the 16th president of the United States. His famous quote; “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power”, depicts his understanding of power and emphasizes the importance of humility. Apart from politics he faced a lot of personal losses; while still a boy he witnessed the death of his infant baby brother and later, his beloved older sister. His first love Ann Rutledge died before they could get married, He later married a women named Mary Todd and had four sons of which three died. The children’s deaths had a profound impact on their relationship. But rather than falling into a bottomless pit of depression, He became a compassionate and humble person who could put himself into another’s shoes.
Lincoln was an entirely self-taught man. Exercising incomparable drive and determination, he was a voracious reader. Seen with a book under his arm at all times, Lincoln devoured Aesop’s Fables and the works of Shakespeare, reading them so many times he could recite entire passages from memory. He pored over newspapers, and taught himself English grammar, geometry and trigonometry. He read and re-read borrowed law books until he understood them thoroughly. This has taught me that only my conviction and my effort is required to achieve great heights. He later told a student seeking advice, “Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any one thing.” This quote has motivated and helped me accomplish feats I never thought possible.
Abraham Lincoln seemed to understand the fundamentals of leadership. Through his actions he has taught me that being a leader is not just about taking big decisions and practising the authority over people but rather to care about people and work for their betterment. Through kind and encouraging words, and authentic gestures of thoughtfulness, Lincoln assured people of their individual significance. He was most essentially a human being who identified with the challenges people faced and the sacrifices they made. A quote by Lincoln proves his insight into leadership; “In order to win a man to your cause, you must first reach his heart, the great high road to his reason.”
All these remarkable traits of Lincoln are the reason for his influence in my life. From learning new subjects to my tenure as the English president, he has taught me to be a better person personally as well as professionally.