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10 Powerful Things Abraham Lincoln Said That Will Inspire Your Life

10 Powerful Things Abraham Lincoln Said That Will Inspire Your Life

Abraham Lincoln delivered some of the most memorable quotes of any U.S. president, filled to the burst with wisdom that’s been passed down for the last hundred-plus years. Here are some especially poignant quotes from Honest Abe that are as relevant today as they’ve ever been.

1. “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”

Abraham Lincoln was wise enough to know when to stay quiet. You should also be aware of the times when the best thing to say is nothing at all. Some political discussions on Facebook might be best to avoid, for example.

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2. “As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy.”

It wouldn’t be a proper list of Abraham Lincoln quotes without something expressing his views on slavery. With this quote, Abe demonstrates his understanding that our roles should not be simplified to being owned or being an owner. That still applies today, even if actual slavery is a thing of the past in the United States. Too often (like in the workplace) people will feel in servitude to someone else, when equality is the best option.

3. “Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.”

Patience is good, but an eagerness to make your mark is often better. To get the things you want you need to be actively, fervently pursuing them. An author who waits for someone to discover his novel on Amazon is less likely to succeed than an author actively marketing himself.

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    Image via Flickr by coconinoco.

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

    Preparation is the key to productivity. Abraham Lincoln suggested here that his rule of thumb was to spend two-thirds of your time preparing, and one-third actually doing. Employ a similar mindset to achieve comparable results. Writing this article, for example, was a lot easier because I collected the quotes ahead of time instead of one at a time.

    5. “It has been my experience that folks who have no vices have very few virtues.”

    This can be a tough quote to get your head around. Wouldn’t those without sin be the most holy? Not according to Abraham Lincoln, who believes that a willingness to do bad is a necessary component of being good. Someone who is willing to break the law for a good reason, for example, is often superior to someone too afraid to.

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    11746994686_6261b08b52_z
      Image via Flickr by Lending Memo.

      6. “The best thing about the future is that it comes only one day at a time.”

      Abraham Lincoln recognized that, though we should prepare for the future, we shouldn’t live in fear of it. As long as we’re aware of what’s coming, it can’t sneak up on us. Think about this especially when saving for retirement.

      7. “My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.”

      Failure is inevitable. Necessary, even, on the path to greatness. Abraham Lincoln knew that the important thing is that you care enough to try again. Most of the most successful businessmen had at least one failed startup before they became millionaires and billionaires. They stuck through the hard times, and you should, too.

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        Image via Flickr by Wally Gobetz.

        8. “Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.”

        Happiness is a pretty abstract thing, but Abraham Lincoln simplifies it somewhat with this quote by explaining that a lot of our well-being comes from our attitudes. In a lot of ways, happiness is within our own power. Don’t get too hung up on being passed over for a promotion, for example, and be grateful for what you have, instead.

        9. “We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”

        One of my favorite Abraham Lincoln quotes. Follow his advice by looking for the good in the bad instead of searching for the bad in the good. You can find faults in everyone, even the people you most love. But it’s better to notice the things that are great about them if you want happy relationships.

        10. “And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”

        The life of Abraham Lincoln was cut short when he was assassinated at the age of 56. It’s a very good thing that he understood that he lived a full and meaningful life, even if it wasn’t as long as it should have been. Don’t waste your time with trivial matters. Do things that make a difference so that, even if you die tomorrow, you’ll have lived a fulfilling life.

        Featured photo credit: William Hartz via flickr.com

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        Matt OKeefe

        Matt is a marketer and writer who shares about lifestyle and productivity tips on Lifehack.

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        Last Updated on July 3, 2020

        30 Small Habits To Lead A More Peaceful Life

        30 Small Habits To Lead A More Peaceful Life

        In today’s world, true peace must come from within us and our own actions. Here are 30 small things you can do on a regular basis to increase your overall sense of harmony, peace, and well-being:

        1. Don’t go to every fight you’re invited to

        Particularly when you’re around those who thrive on chaos, be willing to decline the invitation to join in on the drama.

        2. Focus on your breath

        Throughout the day, stop to take a few deep breaths. Keep stress at bay with techniques such as “square breathing.” Breathe in for four counts, hold for four counts, then out for four counts, and hold again for four counts. Repeat this cycle four times.

        3. Get organized and purge old items

        A cluttered space often creates a cluttered spirit. Take the time to get rid of anything you haven’t used in a year and invest in organizational systems that help you sustain a level of neatness.

        4. Stop yourself from being judgmental

        Whenever you are tempted to have an opinion about someone else’s life, check your intentions. Judging others creates and promotes negative energy.

        5. Say ‘thank you’ early and often

        Start and end each day with an attitude of gratitude. Look for opportunities in your daily routine and interactions to express appreciation.

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        6. Smile more

        Even if you have to “fake it until you make it,” there are many scientific benefits of smiling and laughing. Also, pay attention to your facial expression when you are doing neutral activities such as driving and walking. Turn that frown upside down!

        7. Don’t worry about the future

        As difficult as this sounds, there is a direct connection between staying in the present and living a more peaceful life. You cannot control the future. As the old proverb goes, “Worry is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it won’t get you anywhere.” Practice gently bringing your thoughts back to the present.

        8. Eat real food

        The closer the food is to the state from which it came from the earth, the better you will feel in eating it. Choose foods that grew from a plant over food that was made in a plant.

        9. Choose being happy over being right

        Too often, we sacrifice inner peace in order to make a point. It’s rarely worth it.

        10. Keep technology out of the bedroom

        Many studies, such as one conducted by Brigham and Women’s Hospital, have connected blue light of electronic devices before bed to adverse sleep and overall health. To make matters worse, many people report that they cannot resist checking email and social media when their cell phone is in reach of their bed, regardless of the time.

        11. Make use of filtering features on social media

        You may not want to “unfriend” someone completely, however you can choose whether you want to follow their posts and/or the sources of information that they share.

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        12. Get comfortable with silence

        When you picture someone who is the ultimate state of peace, typically they aren’t talking.

        13. Listen to understand, not to respond

        So often in conversations, we use our ears to give us cues about when it is our turn to say what we want to say. Practice active listening, ask questions, process, then speak.

        14. Put your troubles in a bubble

        Whenever you start to feel anxious, visualize the situation being wrapped in a bubble and then picture that sphere floating away.

        15. Speak more slowly

        Often a lack of peace manifests itself in fast or clipped speech. Take a breath, slow down, and let your thoughtful consideration drive your words.

        16. Don’t procrastinate

        Nothing adds stress to our lives like waiting until the last minute.

        17. Buy a coloring book

        Mandala coloring books for adults are becoming more popular because of their connection to creating inner peace.

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        18. Prioritize yourself

        You are the only person who you are guaranteed to live with 24 hours a day for the rest of your life.

        19. Forgive others

        Holding a grudge is hurting you exponentially more than anyone else. Let it go.

        20. Check your expectations

        Presumption often leads to drama. Remember the old saying, “Expectations are premeditated resentments.”

        21. Engage in active play

        Let your inner child come out and have some fun. Jump, dance, play, and pretend!

        22. Stop criticizing yourself

        The world is a hard enough place with more than enough critics. Your life is not served well by being one of them.

        23. Focus your energy and attention on what you want

        Thoughts, words, and actions all create energy. Energy attracts like energy. Put out what you want to get back.

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        24. Assign yourself “complaint free” days.

        Make a conscious decision not to complain about anything for a whole day. It might be harder than you think and the awareness will stick with you.

        25. Surround yourself with people you truly enjoy being in the company of

        Personalities tend to be contagious, and not everyone’s is worth catching. Be judicious in your choices.

        26. Manage your money

        Financial concerns rank top on the list of what causes people stress. Take the time each month to do a budget, calculate what you actually spend and sanity check that against the money you have coming in.

        27. Stop trying to control everything

        Not only is your inner control freak sabotaging your sense of peace, it is also likely getting in the way of external relationships as well.

        28. Practice affirmations

        Repeat positive phrases that depict the life and qualities you want to attract. It may not come naturally to you, but it works.

        29. Get up before sunrise

        Personally witnessing the dawn brings a unique sense of awe and appreciation for life.

        30. Be yourself

        Nothing creates more inner discord than trying to be something other than who we really are. Authenticity breeds happiness.

        Featured photo credit: man watching sunrise via stokpic.com

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