Bend it like Lincoln

Take a page from Honest Abe in committing to your goals.

What attributes do successful people have in common? They are relentless.  They are consistent. They are determined. They are intensely focused. They persevere. Do you possess these qualities? 


Giovanni Roselli. Courtesy Nike.

Do you want to improve? Are you wondering how to climb the ladder in your chosen profession? 

When looking at those who have excelled at the highest level, there are obvious common themes.  

•  They’ve all dedicated immense time, effort and energy to their craft.  

  They’ve all been knocked down and gotten back up.

  They’ve all shown tremendous focus on their given tasks.    

  They’ve all made mistakes and learned from them.  


A friend once told me, “Discipline means doing what you don’t want to do when you don’t want to do it.” Sure, there should be passion for what you are working toward, but it may not be present every day.  Such phrases as “I’m tired” and “It takes too much time” sometime try to take over.  

Now there is a difference between being utterly consumed by something and still having a life. By no means am I advocating isolating yourself. You should have fun and be social. However, keep in mind the old adage: “Someone is always working when you’re not.” And it is those individuals working in a routine consistently, not just sometimes or most of the time, who are the ones skyrocketing.    


If you perform a task and it doesn’t go as planned, do you figure out what went wrong and correct it for next time? If you reach out to someone and he or she doesn’t respond, is that the end of it? This is when you must go beyond what you are already doing to get the outcome you desire.

This is more than not taking “no” for an answer. This is about finding out why the “no” was given as an answer and figuring out how to turn it into a “yes.”


When I say intense focus, I’m talking about laser focus: “I am going to give this my all, my absolute best. My power and energy are committed to this project.”  

There’s a good chance you will get to the point where people around you may think that you’re too intense and too consumed. They probably don’t understand what it takes to breakout
and thrive.  

If I stopped every time someone told me to “calm down,” I wouldn’t have achieved nearly anything that I’ve accomplished in my life thus far.  


If you want an example of perseverance then look no further than our 16th president, Abraham Lincoln.  

Here is a rundown of some of the obstacles he encountered in his life:

1816: His family was forced out of their home. He worked to support them.

1818: His mother died.

1831: Failed in business.

1832: Ran for state legislature and lost.

1832: Also lost his job. Wanted to go to law school but couldn’t get in.

1833: Borrowed money to begin a business and by the end of the year, he was bankrupt. He spent the next 17 years paying off this debt.

1834: Ran for state legislature again — won.

1835: His fiancé died and his heart was broken.

1836: Had a nervous breakdown and was in bed for six months.

1838: Sought to become speaker of the state legislature — defeated.

1840: Sought to become an elector — defeated.

1843: Ran for Congress — lost.

1846: Ran for Congress again and this time he won.

1848: Ran for reelection to Congress — lost.

1849: Sought the job of land officer in his home state — rejected.

1854: Ran for Senate of the United States — lost.

1856: Sought the vice presidential nomination at his party’s national convention — got less than 100 votes.

1858: Ran for U.S. Senate again — again he lost.

1860: Elected president of the United States.

So next time something doesn’t go your way, and as easy as it may be to throw in the towel, use it as a learning experience. If you are really driven, no amount of setbacks will deter you. It may take months, years, or even most of your life. Do you have the patience and mindset to achieve success?

To those who want to know the secret of success, news flash: The secret is there are no secrets.  

Decide.  Commit.  Act.  Succeed.  Repeat. 

Reach Giovanni on Twitter @GiovanniRoselli and at his website,

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