Abraham Lincoln was a lawyer, statesman, and former President of the United States. He was born in 1809 and died in 1865. Lincoln is best known for his time as President between 1861 and 1865 when he led the country through the American Civil War, which is considered the nation’s greatest political, moral, and constitutional crisis. During his term in office, he also modernized the American economy and abolished slavery. Many people consider him one of the greatest leaders of all-time, and during his life, he said many motivational and inspiring things. People who are business leaders often find that many of Lincoln’s quotes can help them in various situations. Here are 20 of the best Abraham Lincoln quotes that apply to business.
20. On Continually Learning
“I do not think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday”.
In this quote, Abraham Lincoln is referring to the importance of continually learning and bettering yourself throughout life. It is a mistake to believe that you have nothing left to learn, as there is always something new you can learn to expand your knowledge or skills. It is particularly important to realize this if you are a business leader, so you should take up any opportunities for continuous professional development. You should not shy away from learning from the people in your team. Furthermore, you should make sure that your workforce has plenty of opportunities for their own continued professional development.
19. On Facing Challenges Head-On
“You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today”.
Nobody can start and end their business career without facing various challenges along the way. This is something that you need to accept so that you are prepared to face these challenges head-on. It is even more important to have the ability to face challenges if you are the business leader. It is your responsibility to find solutions rather than evading the situation. By avoiding dealing with a situation, you are potentially making it more difficult to resolve in the long run.
18. On Taking Things One Step at a Time
“The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time”.
The simplest way to make progress in almost any aspect of a business is to take it on one step at a time. Although sometimes you may have several different projects underway, juggling too many things at once can potentially hinder your progress and prevent you from focusing on each task fully. Instead, concentrate on giving each task your full attention before moving on to the next stage. If you have too many things to focus on, then delegate the tasks that do not necessarily need your involvement to somebody else. This will then allow you to devote yourself to completing the most important tasks to your full ability.
17. On Being Proactive in Business
“Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle”.
Sitting about thinking about things without taking any action will not get you the best result. This quote says that it is important to get on with things and to take proactive measures to succeed. Waiting will not help you or your business to progress, and it may even mean that you miss some of your best opportunities.
16. On Looking for the Good in Every Situation
“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses”.
Not every day is a great day in business, but you should look for the positives in every situation. Even if things have gone wrong, there is still the opportunity to learn something from the situation. The positive in this case is that you have the chance to assess what went wrong and what you can do to avoid a similar situation arising again in the future.
15. On Leading by Example
“That some achieve great success is proof to all that others can achieve it as well”.
According to this quote listed on Addicted 2 Success, part of the responsibility of a leader is to lead by example as this can motivate people to strive for the same level of success. By showing that anything is possible, you have a greater chance of people wanting to get on your side.
14. On Taking a Positive Approach
“Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be”.
Positivity can go a long way in a business environment. Not only will staying positive keep motivated, but it will also have a positive impact on the rest of your team. On the other hand, having a negative attitude can bring everybody down, demotivate your team, and create a lack of enthusiasm for tasks.
13. On Efficiency and Time Management
“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe”.
This quote from Abraham Lincoln shows how he would apply logic to allocate a greater amount of time to prepare for a task so that he could complete the task more efficiently. Therefore, there are several aspects of a business to which you can apply this quote. It highlights the importance of planning, time management, and efficiency.
12. On Being a Good Leader
“I would rather be a little nobody, then to be an evil somebody”.
If you are a leader who has earned respect from their team due to treating them well and being fair, then this is something in which you can take pride. A good leader is not one who instills fear in his staff
11. On Overcoming Challenges
“When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on”.
When you hit a difficult stage in business, the temptation is often to throw in the towel and call it quits. However, this quote from Lincoln suggests that you should persevere through the period of difficulty and do whatever it takes to come out on the other side.
10. On Planning Ahead
“I will prepare and some day my chance will come”.
Abraham Lincoln described how he liked to prepare to give himself the best chance of success in this quote from Goalcast. You can apply the same principles to business situations. By taking the time to make the appropriate preparations and planning ahead, you are setting yourself up for success. Planning ahead means that things will run more efficiently, and you are less likely to encounter problems along the way.
9. On Having a Positive Attitude
“I laugh because I must not cry, that is all, that is all”.
Sometimes, the best way you can react in a business when you come across a hurdle is to take a positive approach to a bad situation. Use it as a learning curve to avoid hitting the same obstacle again in the future and to learn from your mistakes. Having a positive attitude at these times can also help your team to stay motivated to continue working towards mutual goals.
8. On Taking Responsibility for Your Own Fate
“The best way to predict the future is to create it”.
The only person who can control your destiny in life is yourself. Decide what you want to achieve, set yourself some goals, and then for it. You are the only person who can prevent yourself from achieving your true full potential. So, stop creating barriers for your own success and give yourself the opportunities to succeed, instead.
7. On Standing by Your Decisions
“Be sure to put your feet in the right place, then stand firm”.
One of the biggest responsibilities for all business owners and managers is making good decisions. It is important that you weigh up the pros and cons when you make decisions. Once you have decided on the best course of action, you should take your stance and stand by your decision. Even when others try to sway you, stand for what you believe.
6. On Understanding Your Competition
“I do not like that man. I must get to know him better”.
You will always have competition, no matter what type of business you are in. It is your competition that has the potential to stand in your way and prevent you from achieving all your goals. Therefore, it makes sense to know your adversaries. Find out everything you can about the competition, as this will give you the upper hand. This may involve learning enough about them to make sure you do things better, or finding out about their focus so that you can choose a different market to target to reduce the level of competition.
5. On Showing Strength in Leadership
“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power”.
Good Reads lists this quote as one of the most inspirational quotes by Abraham Lincoln. Not all people are suited to a position of power as it takes certain characteristics. The best leaders can stay true to themselves, even in the face of adversity. When people are put into a position of power, their true colors come to the fore.
4. On Reaching Your Potential
“Whatever you are, be a good one”.
This quote from Abraham Lincoln reinforces that you should always try your best in everything you do. When you are in business, it is only by putting your best effort into every endeavor that you will reach all your goals and achieve success. If you are unwilling to put in the effort to be the best at everything you do, then you may as well not bother. Applying a mediocre amount of effort may allow you to enjoy some success, but this is likely to be limited.
3. On Appreciating the Support of Others
“I’m a success today because I had a friend who believed in me and I didn’t have the heart to let him down”.
Very few people become a success entirely on their own. Most have made their achievements with the support of friends, family, or co-workers. It is important to be humble and to acknowledge the various ways that people have supported you so that you can achieve your dreams. In terms of your team in the workplace, showing appreciation of their support and acknowledging their contributions as this will make them feel valued. In turn, this will motivate them to keep working hard towards the goals you set.
2. On Always Moving Forward
“I am a slow walker, but I never walk back”.
When Abraham Lincoln said these words, he was highlighting the importance of always moving forwards in life. Even if you have to take things at a slow pace, it doesn’t matter as long as you are not going backward or staying in the same place. It is possible to apply this theory to business, as striving to make progress is essential in a business environment. Making progress is not always something that will happen quickly. Sometimes it can take time to move to the next level. However, this does not matter as long as the only direction you are going in is forward.
1. On Striving to Succeed
“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other”.
Payscale says that Abraham Lincoln said this quote about striving to succeed. It is possibly one of the most motivational Abraham Lincoln quotes that apply to business. It says that if you want to succeed, then you must make a resolution to do so, regardless of any obstacles you face. It is your own determination and motivation that will lead you to achieve all the goals you have set for yourself. In this sense, you are the master of your own destiny, and completely responsible for your own success.