Lead Like Lincoln
Steven Spielberg’s movie, Lincoln, will be released in the US nationwide on November 16th. I can hardly wait! Thank you Steven for elevating the caliber of the movies we watch! What can we learn from our 16th president about leadership and excellence in daily living?
As an immigrant and proud citizen of the United States of America, I stand in awe as I survey the unlikely journey of a small young country made up of mere immigrants that became a world power and a beacon of hope and freedom.
Drenched with pain and blood, our journey’s darkest hour almost fractured our unity in the 1860’s over this issue – a few states thought they had the right to secede, and they wanted to break away because they disagreed with the antislavery position of the other states.
One man stood tall and preserved the Union. Abraham Lincoln stood firm in the face of this severe tribulation, unyielding and resolute! He led the cause of the majority, that this country should not be fractured. He treated the secession as a rebellion – a rebellion which lasted a little over four years and caused around 700,000 casualties: The Civil War.
While the story of President Lincoln’s life and the study of his leadership could fill volumes, I simply want to share with you two lessons I have learned from his life:
1. Background and Leadership
The first 15 presidents of this country had been war heroes, vice presidents and secretaries of states – mostly highly educated men from prominent families. President Lincoln was a “common man”.
His resume included one term as a US representative, barely one year of formal education, no connections in the US capitol and no executive experience. Moreover, he came from a poor family. His mother died at age 9, and he had a distant father.
That did not stop him. While he did not have the right background, he did have a ceaseless drive to develop himself and a deep conviction and courage to forge forward!
This gives me hope! How about you?
It gives me hope to know that to make a big impact on our world is within reach for all of us!
2. Depression and leadership
Depression may not be an issue for you. However, it is to many.
As a family physician I see many who are afflicted with it. I have a personal a history with it myself! If you do, be of good cheer; you also can make a great impact!!!
History reveals that president Lincoln had suffered from clinical depression most of his adult life, sometimes severe and incapacitating. This often necessitated him to visit doctors to treat him for his condition. Doctors back then treated patients with depression weeks at a time by bleeding them and by inducing vomiting and diarrhea, etc. They went for the “purging” approach. (Today we go for a little lighter method, Prozac!)
By all accounts his treatment did not make him better!
However, this deep affliction did not stop Abraham Lincoln!
What is the lesson here? It is that our feelings are important, however they are not more important than for us to find and fulfill our purpose and mission in life!
President Lincoln persisted. So can you! So should you!
I hope you enjoy the movie! Remember to take some notes of what you learned, and maybe you can share them here on this blog.
PS: If you think this blog can benefit a person you know, please consider forwarding this email!
Credit: The seed thought of this blog came from the book Lincoln’s Melancholy by Joshua Shenk. The best Lincoln biography I have read which I highly recommend is With Malice Toward None by Stephen Oates.
Reading: This week I am reading the book Half Time, by Bob Buford.