Gettysburg – Addressing Your Personal Development!

"Lincoln at Gettysburg"November 2013 sees the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s speech given at Gettysburg. It was an incredibly short speech, but contained some words which can have an incredible on your personal development right now, all these years later…

The Battle of Gettysburg took place in July 1863 during the American civil war, and around 10,000 men died, with injuries and missing numbers going up to around 50,000.

Lincoln came in November as part of the ceremony to remember the dead, and was expected to speak for hours, which was the custom. Indeed the speaker before him gave a 2 hour address before Lincoln stood up, but Lincoln only delivered a speech of ten sentences.

In fact, that’s probably why photographs of it are so few, because it was expected that there would be time for the lengthy set up of the camera during his speech.

In the speech Lincoln said that what he said would be little noted or remembered, and while his performance provoked mixed reaction at the time, his words certainly were noted, they certainly were remembered.

So, which words am I talking about that can have an incredible impact on your personal development today…?

These words: “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth”

Lincoln was talking about this being the reason that all those deaths would not be in vain, and I think we can come at these words from a new angle to look at ourselves, by asking this question – who governs us?

When I ask who governs us, I don’t mean on the outside, I don’t mean the politicians – I mean on the *inside*.

Think about who makes your decisions about what you should or shouldn’t do? Who makes your decisions about whether you can or can’t follow your passions, or go for your goals? Is it you making these decisions about yourself, or do you allow others to make them for you?

That may sound a silly question, but in fact allowing others to make our decisions is something which stops an unbelievable number of people achieving unbelievable things.

You can’t do that because others won’t like it. You can’t do that because others tell you that you don’t have what it takes, you’re not capable. You can’t do that because others will laugh at you.

Who are these people, these others? You may let them govern you, but are they governing you for you, or for them?

Sound familiar?

I’m hoping that it *doesn’t* sound familiar, that you make your own decisions, and if that’s the case, then brilliant. If it does sound familiar though, there’s a solution, and it’s a solution that you’ve had all along…

Think about Lincoln’s words, think about who you let make decisions about you and your life, and then choose to take back control of these decisions. If you do that, then the internal governance of yourself and your thoughts will be by you and for you, and the results may just amaze you!

Do let me know what you think, I love the feedback!

‘Til Next Time,
health & happiness,
P.S. You can more ideas like this in my motivational book ‘Transform Your Life in 21 Days!’

Do leave a comment!

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  • What an interesting and unique way of bringing together history and personal development! Also very timely for me. I am getting to a stage in life where I am far less afraid to put my head above the parapet and do what I think is right, even though I am sometimes shot at. I don’t enjoy it and there is a voice that tells me I ought to keep others happy and do as they say, but once you start living true to yourself it is very uncomfortable to do otherwise. Thanks – great post.

    • Thanks Harriet,
      There were many options to write about with this anniversary, but these words jumped out at me when I was researching! You make an important point about it being uncomfortable to*not* live true to yourself once you start!

  • I LOVE the civil war. What incredible use of history and encouragement. Being true to who you are and your calling is vital. You will never find peace without it! GREAT article!

    • Cheers Jeff – I’ve been interested in it since seeing the Civil War docu-series many years. It does sound odd that we need to make a decision to make our own decisions, but it really can be the difference between contentment and frustration.
      Thanks for stopping by,

  • Good take on the speech from your side of the pond… Loved your idea about personal development…
    I view the speech as a prayer, a prayer that our credo, the vision of America, becomes integral with reality, the way the United States does operate.
    Using that logic- it’s perfect for your concept- insure that your vision, the credo of your life, is that which you truly live. A life of integrity, where your words and actions match reality.

    • Thanks Roy,
      Many people argue that the USA hasn’t operated with that credo for a long long time, and in fact when the living Presidents did that video doing Lincoln’s address, the naysayers were out in force.
      Why not have it as a hope though I say, an ideal to hope up and aspire to – we could do a lot worse for ourselves!

  • You are absolutely right on with this, Gordon. I am guilty of it more than I am conscious of it, so you sparked me on many levels.

    (I also think there is value in saying fewer words, especially those that zing, rather than go on and on and on and annoy your listeners!)

    • Hi Julie,
      I have also been guilty of it, it always feels better to know you are sticking to your own ideas/ beliefs.
      Thanks for stopping by,