One of the best examples of persistence is that of Abraham Lincoln. If you want to learn about somebody who didn’t quit, look no further.
Born into poverty, Lincoln was faced with defeat throughout his life. He lost eight elections, failed twice in business and suffered a nervous breakdown. He could have quit many times, but he didn’t, and because he didn’t quit, he became one of the greatest presidents in the history of the United States.
Here is a sketch of Lincoln’s road to the White House:
1816: His family was forced out of their home. He had to work to support them.
1818: His mother died.
1831: Failed in business.
1832: Ran for state legislature; lost.
1832: Also lost his job; wanted to go to law school, but couldn’t get in.
1833: Borrowed some money from a friend to begin a business and by the end of the year, he was bankrupt. He spent the next seventeen years of his life paying off this debt.
1834: Ran for state legislature again; won.
1835: Was engaged to be married; sweetheart died and his heart was broken.
1836: Had a total nervous breakdown and was in bed for six months.
1838: Sought to become speaker of the state legislature; defeated.
1840: Sought to become elector; defeated.
1858: Ran for US Senate again; lost.
1860: Elected President of the United States.
Knowing our purpose helps us to persevere in such trials. If our goal is merely making money, most of us will not have the persistence to stick through failure while pursuing a new venture.
Most people prefer the status quo, even if they are not fulfilled. There is an innate risk aversion that prevents most people from living an entrepreneurial lifestyle. What people hate the most is unpredictability. In entrepreneurship, the only predictable thing is failure. Statistically speaking, most startups fail. I don’t believe those numbers change much when the founder is a person of faith.
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).
When we start a new project or business venture and it fails, that’s not a true failure because the only true failure in the Kingdom would be to do nothing. If we build a startup and it fails, God is making that failure work for our good. Many times this adversity is building godly character. Even if we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, goodness and mercy are sure to follow. The point is to walk through it, not camp out there. Such adversity normally lasts only for a season.