If we can incorporate it in our lives, Abraham Lincoln’s letter to his son’s teacher is a great lesson.
People say that 90 per cent of our behaviour is formed out of the habits we adopt. From the time we wake up, till the time we go to bed, we do almost everything mechanically. Over the years we develop habits that determine how well we do in life. Our habits are responsible for how successful we become. To improve our lives, we need to improve our habits.
To create the right habits, we have to ensure that we build the right mindset. Instead of justifying why we are the way we are, we should be doing the following:
- Acknowledge and be accountable for your life.
- Develop the right perspective a keen sense of right and wrong. Ethics play a crucial role.
- Realise that we teach others how to treat us, and ensure that we teach them right.
- Make the right decisions and take appropriate action.
The aforementioned letter reads as;
“He will have to learn, I know, that all men are not just, all men are not true.
Teach him that for every scoundrel there is a hero; that for every selfish politician, there is a dedicated leader.
Teach him that for every enemy there is a friend. It will take time, I know but teach him, if you can, that a dollar earned is of far more value than five found.
Teach him to learn to lose and also to enjoy winning. Steer him away from envy, if you can, teach him the secret of quiet laughter. Let him learn early that bullies are the easiest to lick.
Teach him, if you can, the wonder of books but also give him quite some time to ponder the eternal mystery of birds in the sky, bees in the sun, and flowers on the green hillside.
In school, teach him that it is far more honourable to fail than to cheat.
Teach him to have faith in his own ideas, even if everyone tells him they are wrong.
Let him have the patience to be brave; Strength, not to follow the crowd when everyone is getting on the bandwagon.
Teach him to listen to all men; but teach him also to filter all he hears on a screen of truth and take only the good that comes through.
Teach him, if you can, how to laugh when he is sad.
Teach him there is no shame in tears.
Teach him to scoff at cynics, and beware of too much sweetness.
Teach him to sell his brawn and brain to the highest bidders, but never to put a price tag on his heart and soul.
Teach him to close his ears to the howling mob and to stand up and fight if he thinks he is right.
Teach him always to have sublime faith in himself, because then he will have faith in human kind.
This is a big order; but see what you can do. He is such a fine fellow my son!”
- Abraham Lincoln
American president Abraham Lincoln’s letter to his son’s teacher is a guide to us. It talks of all the key ingredients we need, to make a success of our lives.