(An excerpt from LINCOLN SPEAKS TO LEADERS by Gene Griessman and Pat Williams, with Peggy Matthews Rose)

ABRAHAM LINCOLN: "When I was young, I read a book that most people read in my day, but few read today—Pilgrim's Progress, by John Bunyan. It's a classic that tells the story of a lonely, resolute traveler who struggled with temptation, overcame despondency, and reached his goal. Pilgrim's Progress became a metaphor for my life.

Great religious leaders have long taught that if you truly want something, you should act as if the object of your desire is already on its way to you. For example, if your goal is to become a lawyer, visualize yourself as a lawyer, and you will be well on your way to achieving that dream. Seeing it happen is the way to make it happen.

During the war, I wrote a personal letter to a college student who was a friend of my son Robert. His grades were bad, he was discouraged, and he was considering dropping out of college. In that letter I said, 'You cannot fail if you resolutely determine that you will not.'"

PAT WILLIAMS: "This is a message I believe in wholeheartedly. I've seen it happen time after time after time. Why do homerun hitters drive the ball into the bleacher seats? Because they see it happen before the wood connects with the leather...

Jim Brown, the legendary Cleveland Browns running back, was the first athlete I ever heard talk about visioning this way. The night before games he would think about what he wanted to accomplish, picture it as if he'd already done it. When game time came, his mission was already half accomplished. Because he'd seen himself successful, the doing of it was simply the living out of history.

Mark Price, who is among the greatest free throw shooters in NBA history, constantly visualized the ball going into the basket in advance of the games. After repeatedly playing the scene over and over in his mind, by game time it was all automatic."

Author's Bio: 

--Adapted from Chapter Six: "Success Comes From Within" (Gene Griessman and Pat Williams with Peggy Matthews Rose, Lincoln Speaks To Leaders: 20 Powerful Lessons For Today's Leaders From America's 16th President. Elevate/Advantage: 2009) Griessman's website is presidentlincoln.com .

Griessman is a professional speaker and Lincoln portrayer. Williams is a legendary sports executive who is executive vice president of the Orlando Magic; adapted from The Achievement Digest.