Abraham Lincoln was the 16th president of the United States and a man of conviction and confidence. Lincoln led the nation through a bloody American Civil War with over 600,000 causalities and slavery was one of the biggest ethical and constitutional crises the country has ever faced.
You could probably point to times when Lincoln struggled with confidence, but imagine how much confidence it took for Lincoln to issue the Emancipation Proclamation, a major step in ending slavery despite great opposition.
Despite his historic accomplishments, there is no doubt Lincoln had doubts during his presidency. The key is that Lincoln didn’t buy into those doubts or, actually, Lincoln didn’t let doubts stop him from acting on what he wanted to accomplish.
Lincoln encountered a wall of opposition, haters and naysayers. In fact, someone hated Lincoln so much that he assassinated Abe.
Which brings me to the point of this article: How was Abe able to maintain his confidence when there were so many obstacles in his way?
The answer can be found in what Lincoln carried with him. When Lincoln died, the following contents were found in his pockets: an embroidered linen handkerchief, an ivory-handled pocket knife, a Confederate five-dollar bill and eight newspaper clippings praising him.
That last part is worth repeating… 8 NEWSPAPER CLIPPINGS PRAISING HIM!!!
Lincoln could have carried around failed businesses, lost elections, political attacks, slanderous media attention, verbal attacks, past mistakes, etc.
Instead, Lincoln chose to carry with him, everywhere he went, reminders of his accomplishments and strengths. Those little positive reminders helped Lincoln step forward confidently in the direction of his goals despite those sneaky doubts that unquestionably crept into his mind.
So, in the words of the American Express commercial, “What’s in your wallet?”
What’s in your pocket? What are you carrying around with you?
As for athletes, are you carrying around mistakes from past competitions or highlights from past performances, losses or victories, failures or successes, misses or accomplished objectives, negative criticism or compliments?
In your personal life, what fills your pockets? You can carry shortcomings or personal assets, anger or gratitude, lack of money or potential opportunity, failed relationships or long-lasted friendships, past failings or small positive steps forward.
The events you carry with you profoundly affect your confidence and feelings towards yourself. The items you cram into your pockets will impact what you will accomplish. The things you grasp tightly and focus on will shape your future.
The articles you carry in your pocket are a choice. You can fill your pockets with trash or treasure. You can carry with you compliments or detriments. The good news is that you can empty your pockets any time of day and choose to carry items that enhance your confidence and help you step boldly in the direction of your goals.
Here’s an exercise for you to put things in the physical realm… Write on a piece of paper eight successes or strengths. Place that positive, self-published news clipping in your pocket. Every time you pull out your cell-phone, wallet or car keys, you will be reminded of you past successes and accomplishments. If you commit to this exercise, your confidence has no other choice than to grow.