Leading silently

Abraham Lincoln, whose birthday we honor today, once said:

I am rather inclined to silence, and whether that be wise or not, it is at least more unusual nowadays to find a man who can hold his tongue than to find one who cannot.

Statue of Lincoln at Lincoln Memorial

Image source: Jeff Kubina (Wikimedia Commons)

I’m glad to hear that, for I too am rather inclined to silence. I like to think that, whatever my silence might cost me in terms of renown, it at least sets me apart from the crowd.

Lincoln certainly stands apart from other great historical figures, in that he was serenely confident in his own beliefs and abilities. When you have that kind of confidence, you don’t need to talk about it.

Lincoln surrounded himself with people who were not silent — men who were considered great in their time and who, in many cases, thought of themselves as great. Lincoln never worried about these men stealing the spotlight or claiming the credit. Yet, through persistence and determination, Lincoln always had the last word.

History has rightly judged him as greater than all the great men who shared the stage with him.

I appreciate Lincoln and the example he set: a silent leader, leading with humility and resolve.

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