Abraham Lincoln: 10 Quotes To Help You Lead Today

After gathering and offering quotes from Shakespeare and the Buddha, I asked people for ideas – other well-known people whose quotes they’d like to see.  My daughter Rachel suggested Abraham Lincoln.

Lincoln has intrigued me since I was a little kid, and my curiosity and respect have only increased with the years.  For anyone who hasn’t read Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals, I recommend it highly – it’s a wonderfully nuanced evocation of Lincoln as leader. His leadership was grounded in those qualities that we Americans have always aspired to as a nation, and that are also timeless leader qualities: self-determination; a fierce drive toward justice; an unwavering commitment to individual freedom.  Lincoln combined all of that with a deep insight into the human condition and a finely honed sense of the absurd:

courtesy ra3rn

On power: “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a men’s character, give him power.”

On principles: “I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true.”

On preparation: “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”

On taking action: “Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.”

On courage: “To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.”

On kindness: “I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice.”

On change: “As our case is new, we must think and act anew.”

On commitment: “Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other one thing.”

On assumptions: “If you look for the bad in people expecting to find it, you surely will.”

On empowerment: “You cannot build character and courage by taking away a man’s initiative and independence.”

Gathering and selecting these quotes, and thinking about each one as I reviewed it, has enriched me. It reminds me that great leaders touch not only those with whom they interact directly, but that they also affect thousands of people down the years in an ever-widening circle. Lincoln also said, “I do not think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday” – and with his own words, he helps us avoid that fate.







Erika Andersen

Erika Andersen, Contributor

Read original Forbes article here



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