As we observe President’s Day, I’m reminded of a great story about Abraham Lincoln which I heard in the outstanding book How To Win Friends and Influence People. Lincoln was one of the most respected leaders in the history of our entire country. During the Civil War, one of Lincoln’s top generals made a very bad decision, against the orders of Lincoln. Instead of the war being pretty much over, this decision led to prolonging the Civil War for another two years at the cost of many lives, much money, and a divided nation. Lincoln wrote an angry letter to this general recapping the mistake, and outlining the grave consequences. After writing it, Lincoln then didn’t send this letter. He put it in his desk and it was never seen again until Lincoln’s things were gone through, after his death.
So often I see people wanting to make others wrong. Maybe you are in a certain position because someone didn’t treat you the way you wanted them to, or maybe they truly did the wrong thing. It is your choice whether or not you let that hold you back. Lincoln chose to write an angry letter and put it away for good, how many of us would do something similar in what is likely a much less serious circumstance?
The most successful people in this world don’t hold grudges, don’t blame others (no matter how wrong the others were!), and focus on what is missing in a situation, instead of focusing on what is wrong, or what went wrong in the past. Lincoln is just one example of many, but he sure is a great one.
Be the light for others. Don’t make others wrong, stand for their greatness instead.