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It’s never the easy things that makes us who we are. Those moments which are our lowest, those moments which seem to last an eternity – where nine months feels like nine years – they’re the ones that shape us.

It’s always in retrospect when we are thankful for them because we learned what we were capable of, we learned to savour the good times, and we developed the confidence to face whatever challenge comes next. This is life’s perpetual cycle of highs and lows.

Abraham Lincoln was a man too familiar with this cycle, suffering severe depression as a consequence. Although he’s known as one of the greatest Presidents, he experienced a lot of low moments.

There’s a famous chronology of his life that gets shared, showing his misfortunes as a lesson of one great man’s persistence and ability to endure hardship, and it goes as follows:

1818 – His mother died of illness.

1828 – His sister died giving birth.

1831 – Failed in business

1832 – Defeated for state legislature.

1833 – Failed in business again.

1834 – Elected to the legislature.

1835 – His Fiancée died of illness.

1836 – Had a nervous breakdown.

1838 – Defeated for speaker.

1840 – Defeated for elector.

1843 – Defeated for Congress.

1846 – Elected to Congress

1848 – Lost Renomination.

1849 – Rejected for land officer

1850 – His second son died at three

1854 – Defeated for Senate

1856 – Defeated for Vice-President

1858 – Defeated for Senate again

1860 – Elected U.S. President

1861 – Start of the Civil War

1862 – His third son died of illness

1865 – He was assassinated

From this list it’s clear why Lincoln struggled mentally. Yet despite all he went through, he kept on. These adversities molded his character into the model that’s so beloved today.

Much like him, there will be setbacks and difficulties in your life, but you should see them as the building blocks, strengthening your mind and ethic, elevating your character to higher levels.

Overcoming troubles and challenges is what it means to gain life experience and wisdom. What’s more, if you want to succeed in life, you’ll have to do more because you’ll make many mistakes but are required to keep putting in the work to get somewhere.

Since, however, these moments are inevitable, your main task is getting through them. As is often said by the stoics, “it’s not what happens to you, but how you respond”.

Moreover, it’s never wise to worry too much. This is a cycle – a necessary part of life. The best you can do is accept it, be strong, then push your way through to the end.

No matter what happens, remember that life isn’t easy, and no one said it would be. To gain anything or get anywhere, you will experience hardship. And these are the moments that define you, the ones that make you who are. So, head up. Keep going.