How to destroy your enemies according to Abraham Lincoln

In a speech Abraham Lincoln delivered at the height of the Civil War, he referred to the Southerners as fellow human beings who were in error. An elderly lady chastised him for not calling them irreconcilable enemies who must be destroyed. “Why, madam,” Lincoln replied, “do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?” — page 23 of the 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene.

Most of our enemies are in our head.

You think someone is conspiring against you when really, it’s you creating the image of them conspiring against you in your head.

Impatience is making time an enemy. 

Making the person you could be an enemy turns into a lack of motivation.

If you want to defeat your enemies, put down  the sword and reach out with a hand.

When a customer came into Apple in a demonic state, there was a saying we had.

Kill them with kindness.

Or as Lincoln would say, make them your friend.

External forces may push you around a bit

I used to work at Apple. I use an iPhone every day and I’m writing this on an iPad.

I’m a fan of the company. I appreciate their values and the products and services they offer.

When I start a business of my own, it’ll take queues from Apple.

This coming quarter will be the first quarter since 2016 Apple hasn’t passed expectations of their earnings.

As a stock holder, this means the price of my shares in the company will likely drop a bit (they’ve been dropping for the past couple of months). But I don’t care.

I’m in it for the long game. I’m not interested in hearing if a company makes new record profits every 3 months. I’m more interested in whether the company will be around in 20-years time.

Say you went on a date with a girl and then went on a second date and a third. Then you started to like her a bit. You decide to make things official and ask her to be your girlfriend, are you hoping the relationship lasts a couple of months? Or are you more interested in something more long term?

The same goes with health. Are you on a health kick because it’s the start of the New Year and you’re sticking to your resolution for January? Or are you looking for long term health gains because you’re a fan of yourself when you’re healthy.

Tim Cook sent out a memo to Apple employees talking about the recent headlines. This was my favourite outtake.

‘External forces may push us around a bit, but we are not going to use them as an excuse. Nor will we just wait around until they get better. This moment gives us an opportunity to learn and to take action, to focus on our strengths and on Apple’s mission — delivering the best products on earth for our customers and providing them with an unmatched level of service. We manage Apple for the long term, and in challenging times we have always come out stronger.’

It’s good as it is but let me reword it for you.

External forces may push you around a bit, but you’re not going to use them as an excuse. Nor will you just wait around until things get better. Being pushed around gives you an opportunity to learn and to take action, to focus on your strengths and on your mission — delivering the highest quality of work forged in the fires of your soul. The short term is attractive but it isn’t what you’re playing for. Every challenge you’ve faced, you’ve conquered, this one will be no different.