I just finished reading a fascinating book, Lincoln The Unknown, by Dale Carnegie.  Carnegie wanted to write a book about Lincoln that revealed more of his personal information – how he grew up, his family, his true love, his love of Shakespeare and poetry, his relationships and his thoughts as the country plunged into Civil War.  The result is a brilliant book that shares with the reader little known facts about the man, and is so thoroughly engrossing that it is difficult to put down.  I highly recommend this book to you.

There were so many instances in Lincoln’s life that, had they been handled differently, could have created a vastly different future for both him and the country.  For example, when Lincoln was younger and studying to become a lawyer he fell in love with Ann Rutledge.  She also loved him, and they planned on being married once he had established himself as a lawyer and could support them.  Tragically, Ann developed Typhoid and died before any of that could come to pass.  Lincoln was devastated, so much so that his friends took his pocket knife away from him so that he wouldn’t try to use it to kill himself.  He spent so many hours sobbing at Ann’s grave site that his friends had to go and bring him home.  Just days before his death, he stated to a friend that he had been happier as a barefoot farm laborer back in Illinois than he had ever been in the White House.

Years later, Lincoln courted Mary Todd, and she agreed to marry him.  As he got to know her better, however, he realized that marriage to her would be a colossal mistake, that they had little if anything in common, and that she had a fiery temper that could not be contained.  When the day of the wedding arrived, Lincoln did not.  Weeks later, in trying to explain to Mary his actions, and the fact that he did not deem it a wise union, she broke down in tears and, being the tender man that he was, agreed that the honorable thing to do would be to marry her.  Unfortunately, he had very few happy moments during the entire course of his marriage to Mary Todd.

While it was not a union made in heaven, I believe that it was a critical factor in Lincoln being elected president.  You see, Mary Todd had as a driving obsession the desire to marry a man that would become President of the United States.  She believed that she could push Lincoln in that direction, and she was right.  Imagine how different things could have been for this country had Ann Rutledge not died and she and Lincoln had been married.  Imagine how different things could have been had Lincoln “stayed strong” and refused to marry Mary Todd, a woman that never missed an opportunity to berate and humiliate him, in public or in private.

What if Robert E. Lee had lead the Union forces, instead of fighting for the Confederacy?  Lee was a brilliant and experienced military man, and he was not in favor of succession, desiring that the Union remain in tact.  In addition, he was morally opposed to slavery, and had freed all of his years before the outbreak of war.  Lincoln offered command of the Union forces to Lee, but he declined, for though he did not want a Civil War, he said he could not lead an invading army against the Southern states.  Lee was, first and foremost, a Virginian.  Think about that; had Lee remained in the Union army, Lincoln would not have had to search so long and hard for a competent commander, and the South would have been robbed of a brilliant tactician.

Life is full of “what ifs.”  We each have many “what ifs” that we’ve no doubt rattled around our brains over the years:  “What if I had gone into medicine instead?”  “What if I had never written that letter in anger?”  “What if I had finished that manuscript, instead of tossing it into the trash?”  “What if I had followed my instincts and started my own business, instead of slaving away for 40 years at a job I never enjoyed?”  “What if I had actually been able to see my children grow up, rather than only seeing them for a few hours at night?  What if I had been there to see their first step, or hear their first word, or listen to their joys and hurts?”

Don’t end up at the end of your life wondering “what if.”  Life can be so much more than we can imagine.  Each of us is capable of so much more than we realize.  I heard Joel Osteen say once that God doesn’t put a dream in your heart that you can’t achieve.  Don’t settle for mediocre, reach for more than that.  What if you try, and succeed?

– Mark

I refuse to settle, which is why I joined Numis Network.  Learn many have called this company the best income generating opportunity in network marketing today.