Lincoln On Leadership, Donald T. Annotated Bibliography


164). "Worry, believe it or not," Ellis continues, "has no magical quality of staving off bad luck. On the contrary, it increases your chances of disease or accident by unnerving you" (Ellis, 1997, p. 164). Thus, worrying about and subsequently avoiding fearful situations really accomplishes nothing but perpetuating the fearful situation and the worry; the situation will continue to exist if it isn't addressed. If the situation causes one distress, it follows that one will continue to feel distress unless the situation somehow, magically, disappears. Indeed, Elko & Ostrow (1991) point out that those with anxiety are prone to 'worry about worry,' worry about the outcome itself, and even perform worse than those that do not worry. Moreover, in situations where one is the leader, such as in Lincoln's case, fearful situations almost never disappear, because leaders are precisely the individuals that are expected to spearhead fearful situations. Lincoln further fueled his adeptness as a great leader by following what Janke (2010) termed "The Ingredients of Self-Discipline:" (1) self-control: acting in control of one's thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, (2) motivation: the innate incentive inside a person that energizes her efforts, (3) persistence: the ability to endure adverse situations and carry on one's tasks unaffectedly, and (4) goals: striving to achieve the attainment of a situation that symbolizes to oneself "success."

After all, consider Lincoln's failures at the beginning of his career; they weren't just two or three minor setbacks over the course of a couple months. His string of 'defeats' were consistent events that spanned the course of over 27 years (Janke, 2010). Had Lincoln not had self-control, he might have gone, literally, crazy, and thus, obviously, never have become the President of the United States. Had he not been motivated, he would have quit after his first business went bankrupt, or his second, or after he was defeated three times in four years in bids for the U.S. Congress. Indeed, Lincoln's motivation did seem "Super-Human," as Janke seemed to enjoy referring to him as (2010). Had the former President not been persistent, how could he have endured the loss of a fiancee, the trials of leadership of the Civil War, the string of defeats, and the constant push and pull of the Congress and his Cabinet members on his Presidency? Indeed, he must have had goals, for else what would he have worked so hard?

The purpose of this essay has been to relate a number of the assigned readings, both in the texts and online, to the way in which former President Abraham Lincoln led the United States during his presidency. I hoped to use the President's time in office as a sort of analogy -- striving to show an understanding of emotional destiny, how Lincoln's strategies for leadership were directly applicable to 'normal' people today, and how his strategies, which closely aligned with the philosophies of Ellis, Epictetus, and a number of the authors of the assigned readings, as well as other various Internet resources, can serve as a modern guide for efficient problem solving, a healthy, stable view of the world, and a rational approach to thought and behavior.

Selected points significant to leadership in a Guide to Rational Living by Ellis, a. And Harper, R.A. (1997).

Chapter 14, "Controlling Your Own Emotional Destiny"

"Irrational Belief No. 5: The idea you must be miserable when you have pressures and difficult experiences; and that you have little ability to control, and cannot change, your disturbed feelings" (p. 155). Pressures and difficult experiences are often characteristics of positions of leadership. Thus it is important to understand that this belief is indeed irrational.

"When faced with an can accept it philosophically and try, as best you can, to ignore or distract yourself from it" (p. 161). This passage relates to leadership strategies to overcoming group problems. If something goes wrong, a capable leader should accept it philosophically; recognize its existence and move on by taking steps to work around it with the resources available.

If you're criticized, first judge the validity of the criticism. If it is totally or in part valid, take steps to modify your behavior to accept your own 'failings' and others' disapproval.

Chapter 15, "Conquering Anxiety and Panic"

"Irrational Belief No. 6: The idea that if something is dangerous or fearsome, you must obsess about it and frantically try to escape from it" (p. 163). Leadership requires accepting dangerous or fearsome situations. Such an attitude allows careful assessment of alternatives and priorities. "The more you upset yourself, the less you will be...


"As noted above, Skinner was opposed by the majority of psychologists for his views, defined his own conclusions as 'good' and 'reinforcing,' and chose to see their opposition (social disapproval) as not particularly penalizing" (p. 172). To act with resolve and innovation, one must often see opposition as a positive development -- as a sign that an innovative strategy is being pursued.

Leadership can result in disapproval. "Disapproval may be advantageous -- but is only a self-defined 'horror'" (p. 174).

Chapter 16, "Acquiring Self-Discipline"

Irrational Belief No. 7: The idea that you can easily avoid facing many difficulties and self-responsibilities and still lead a highly fulfilling existence" (p. 177). Leadership is rife with tough decisions. Avoiding them reinforces future avoidant behavior. Leaders are not effective when they avoid tough decisions. Leaders that take on difficult decisions with gusto are the ones held in the highest regard.

"We achieve few outstanding gratifications without risk-taking" (p. 178).

It is difficult for one to begin a task in which he understands that the benefits of said tasks will not be reaped for some amount of time. The 'trick' is to understand that avoiding beginning a necessary task will only reinforce the belief that one is not capable of doing the task, making it more difficult in the long-run.

Bullets -- Chapter 17, "Rewriting Your Personal History"

Irrational Belief No. 8: The idea that your past remains all-important and that because something once strongly influenced your life, it has to keep determining your feelings and behavior today" (p. 187). In other words, potential leaders may prevent themselves from becoming leaders because they've never done anything of the sort in the past.

It is important for leaders to keep an open mind when facing difficulties; they must not think that, because they were 'defeated' in one type of situation, they will always be 'defeated' by other situations of a similar type.

Understand that your present is your past of tomorrow (p. 194).

Online Reading Response

At first glance, "The Seven Faces of Destiny" by George a. Boyd, on his website, "Mudrashram Institute of Spiritual Studies," appears to lie in direct contradiction to the chapters assigned that regarded controlling one's emotional destiny, for this section of the website initially makes the claim that a "karmic template is handed down to you at the time of your birth and includes the blessings and adversities of your fate." At first, I took this to mean that Boyd was asserting that one didn't have control over one's emotional destiny. However, the author soon goes on to qualify his writing: certain facts regarding one's existence are inalienable; "traits of destiny" can exist as physical characteristics, particular talents (or lack thereof) and more.

Some people, Boyd says (as does Ellis), blame themselves harshly for these "predestined" factors of their lives because they cannot control them. However, Boyd suggests that the wiser way of being is to work with your predetermined destiny; to recognize your weaknesses and building upon your strengths, because trying to change situations over which you have no control is a waste of energy, an exercise in frustration, and is best accepted and dealt with as a 'normal' part of life.

Much of this particular reading is focused on karma, on karmic destiny, and things like "karmic accretions," which don't necessarily appeal to me. Still, what remains easily recognizable is the value to be taken from Boyd's thoughts on situations of which we have little to no control.

"The School of Self-Discipline," a website created by Michael Janke, containing excerpts of a book by Michael Janke, deals with self-discipline and how it can make humans into "Super-Humans." What Janke seems to be attempting to signify with this term are, simply, highly influential people, and specifically, famous historical figures (as per his examples).

Self-discipline has four key ingredients -- self-control, motivation, persistence, and goals. If we are to achieve self-discipline, all four of these characteristics must be in place and enforced on a daily basis. Janke also writes that, to ensure "success," one must understand how to strengthen the ingredients of self-discipline while eliminating self-destructive behaviors.

In general, I believe Janke's point is this: one shouldn't let their habits -- of which they know are preventing increasing levels of health and happiness -- continue to 'rule' their lives. Janke's message is one of control, liberation, questioning…

Cite this Document:

"Lincoln On Leadership Donald T " (2010, May 07) Retrieved February 23, 2024, from

"Lincoln On Leadership Donald T " 07 May 2010. Web.23 February. 2024. <>

"Lincoln On Leadership Donald T ", 07 May 2010, Accessed.23 February. 2024,

Related Documents

He says that Fremont has left himself isolated by not allowing others to communicate with him and he is therefore unable to make good decisions, because he doesn't know what is going on around him. (13) Leaders I have met emulate Lincoln in their humor, honesty and open door policies, and those who have made the greatest impression on me have; left me feeling as if I had known

Grant possessed in superb degree the ability to think of the war in overall terms, however his grand plan of operations that ended the war was at least partly Lincoln's in concept (Williams). Grant conformed his strategy to Lincoln's known ideas: "hit the Confederacy from all sides with pulverizing blows and make enemy armies, not cities, his main objective" (Williams). Grant submitted the broad outlines of his plan to

Abraham Lincoln expanded the presidential powers at the time of the American Civil War. This paper will examine how Abraham Lincoln expanded the presidential powers at the time of the American Civil War (Writer Thoughts, n.d). Civil War Background A key event in the historical consciousness of USA is its Civil War that took place between 1861 and 1865. While the 1776-1783 revolution led to the nation's creation, its Civil War determined

Presidential Campaign revolves under the presidential leadership from its formation. The presidential candidate has to undergo an electoral process so that they are declared winners. The nation has faced challenges like the world wars and even the civil wars due to differences in ideologies. The paper is going to cover U.S. political campaign of President Woodrow Wilson in 1916 as well as how this campaign differs from that of 1912? U.S.

Guantanamo Bay
PAGES 61 WORDS 16801

Guantanamo Bay and the United States History of Guantanamo Bay, and the U.S. Involvement with Guantanamo Bay The Legality of the U.S. Occupation of Guantanamo Bay Why Do the U.S. Hold Guantanamo Bay? The Legal Position Regarding the U.S. Being in Guantanamo Bay Recent Events at Guantanamo Bay: Camp X-Ray and Camp Delta The Legal Position Regarding Events at U.S. Camps in Guantanamo Bay The Geneva Convention and Guantanamo Bay In the last two years the U.S. naval

Iraq War - on Iraq and the U.S. Personal Narrative The drums of war once again echo in my ears. I am disgusted seeing Donald Rumsfeld on television defending the U.S. invasion of Iraq. CNN shows old footage of Rumsfeld shaking Saddam Hussein's hand, made in the late eighties when the U.S. was providing know-how for Saddam to build chemical weapons. I was five years old when we left the country,