Lincoln suffered from severe clinical depression throughout his life but managed to develop impressive abilities to integrate the illness of the mind into his life and hard work. One of his most successful tools in fighting his constant mental struggle was his mindset, represented through his view on the essence of the Declaration of Independence.
Regarding the core of the Declaration, Lincoln noted that it “should be familiar to all, and revered by all; constantly looked to, constantly labored for … even though never perfectly attained.” In other words, Lincoln explained that the true essence of the Declaration of Independence for him manifested itself as a standard and ideal which is worth attaining and living for but impossible to achieve completely.
The article supports this notion, suggesting that Lincoln’s view of the Declaration originated from his personal beliefs. So, one of the most effective instruments that provided Lincoln with a reason to live was the devotion of his life to an ideal, knowing it was impossible ever to achieve it.
The second most effective Lincoln’s means to sustain depression and use it to achieve his great goals was his ability to transform his sadness into work. The process of occupying his mind with problems and attempting to solve them allowed him to switch “from gloom to work.”
In his labor, Lincoln could use his self-criticizing thoughts to his advantage, which propelled his development and problem-solving abilities. Lincoln’s own words to his friend imply the same conclusion: “I think if I were you, in case my mind was not exactly right, I would avoid being idle.” This shows that Lincoln considered his work a salvation from the constant self-destructive thoughts occupying his mind.
The most important idea that I have derived from Lincoln’s example is that there is a possibility to find strength in my weaknesses and disadvantages. Apart from the constant self-criticism, Lincoln’s depression made him fearless while facing any negative emotion, which provided him with incredible clarity and a realistic view of the world. With his absolute determination to become better, his main disability provided him with his greatest power.