If you received a message from Amazon in your email in-box that advised you of Abraham Lincoln’s new book, would you download it on your kindle. I know, your answer might be that you don’t have a kindle. Or, your answer might be that you would be surprised to learn that Lincoln was still writing.
Well, circumstances don’t stop us from some of Lincoln’s wisdom. From the magazine Inc. , author Ilan Mochari provides us with thoughts from Lincoln on how to keep a good temperament when dealing with people, during difficult times. He uses references from another author of the past, Andrew Carnegie.
First, here is a letter that Lincoln wrote during the Civil War, to a General who had disobeyed his orders:
“I do not believe you appreciate the magnitude of the misfortune involved in Lee’s escape. He was within your easy grasp, and to have closed upon him would, in connection with our other late successes, have ended the war. As it is, the war will be prolonged indefinitely. If you could not safely attack Lee last Monday, how can you possibly do so South of the river, when you can take with you very few more than two thirds of the force you then had in hand? It would be unreasonable to expect, and I do not expect you can now effect much. Your golden opportunity is gone, and I am distressed immeasureably because of it.”
It’s a pretty scathing rebuke. However, Lincoln never sent it. It was found among his papers after his death. Why he never sent it is a bit speculative. Still, according to the author, the following three things can be gleaned about Lincoln that can be good reminders for us.
1. When delivering feedback, think how it will effect the recipient and whether it reaches your ultimate communication goal. That letter might not have been sent because of the damage it would have ultimately done to the morale of the general.
2. Before you criticize, put yourself in their shoes. Second guessing/Monday Morning Quarterback evaluation may not be the best position for evaluation. As someone once said to me, “There is no constructive criticism. Those words don’t go together”.
3. If you’re angry about an outcome, give yourself an outlet for venting. Maybe the letter writing helped Lincoln deal with his anger. General Meade would have been the recipient of the letter. Instead, he is now best known as the General who defeated General Robert E. Lee at the Battle of Gettysburg.
DID YOU KNOW that during the Civil War, glasses with colored lenses were used to treat disorders and illnesses. Yellow-trimmed glasses were used to treat syphillis, blue for insanity and pink to treat depression. That’s where the expression originated “to see the world through rose-colored glasses”.
And for pic o’ day, some unusal plans: