4 Motivational Life Lessons From Barack Obama

I can still remember the moment Barack Obama was elected as the first African-American President of the United States back in November 2008. The minute it was announced that Obama had won, everybody went crazy; people were shouting, crying, jumping up in the air, dancing, and running amok about the campus dorms and driveways.  It was truly a historic moment, both in the history of the United States and in the long struggle for racial equality both here and abroad. 

Since his election and re-election in 2012, Obama has continued to overcome adversity in Washington and growing public distrust in the United States government, and has inspired millions in this country and around the world.  Here are four motivational quotes from the words of our own president, Barack Obama. 

1. “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek. 

President Obama, like Abraham Lincoln, FDR, and John F. Kennedy before him, has served as one of the most visually progressive presidents in the history of our country.  His first Presidential Campaign was run almost entirely on the simple concept of Change; change for the human condition, for the modern world, for the new generation.  And with change comes always a storm of controversy, and Obama’s presidency is no exception. 

Nevertheless change is important in any society that aims to progress, even though the path will be uncertain, and hindered by many obstacles for many years to come, great things can come of the actions that we take now, which Obama recognizes as a fundamental truth.  We cannot wait for an answer to simply fall into our laps.  We must BE the answer, and it is in this truth that future generations will look back on our society under Barack Obama and judge our actions for better or for worse.  Take after President Obama; do not wait for something to happen in your life, go out and make it happen.  You are the answer that you looked for, now you must do something about it. 

2. “If you work hard and meet your responsibilities, you can get ahead, no matter where you come from, what you look like, or who you love.

It seems that despite the great strides we have made in our history for the sake of humanity, we are still subject to flaws like racism, segregation, and discrimination.  President Obama is no stranger to such institutions.  During his first campaign from 2006-2008, Obama was faced with critics who questioned his ethnicity, and even his citizenship.  People have often been hindered by race, religion, culture, and ethnicity, and yet many have found ways to overcome such adversities and become pioneers and icons of freedom and equality among the human race.  America, itself, has always been the land of opportunity, but many have long questioned, “Opportunity for whom?” 

President Obama has never yielded to such adversity.  His fundamental belief that you can achieve anything in this world, no matter who you are or where you come from, has inspired millions to set their own goals and pursue their own dreams.  Like Frederick Douglas, Jackie Robinson, and Martin Luther King Jr. before him, he stands as a shining example of the truly limitless potential of the American Dream, and will continue to be for generations to come.  

3. “If you’re walking down the right path, and you’re willing to keep walking, eventually you’ll make progress. 

Like any president, politician, businessman, or average Joe, President Obama has set personal goals for himself, but also goals that he looks to achieve for the country during his term in office.  He also knows that to achieve your goals, you must be willing to take risks and face challenges head on; you must persevere when there is little hope of success, and you must always remember your End Goal. 

During his presidential term, Barack Obama has done just that.  He has faced many challenges, both in Washington from many of his fellow politicians, and abroad, and yet has persevered by making decisions that he (as President) believes is best for the country, which is all that we can really ask a president to do.  But neither has he ever thrown up his hands and given up; he has continued to serve as an example of courage and leadership, and he will yet continue down his path, no matter what barriers or obstacles he finds in his way. 

4. “The future rewards those who press on.  I don’t have time to feel sorry for myself.  I don’t have time to complain.  I’m going to press on.

Barack Obama has never been a president that has steered away from an issue, even though he has been met with a great storm of opposition in almost every decision he has made as Commander In Chief.  Be it his reform of the Healthcare system, raising the country’s national debt limit, repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, or legislating for stricter gun ownership laws, the significant split in the Senate and House of Representatives has done more to hinder Obama’s executive decisions more, perhaps, than any other president in US history.

Yet Obama still believes that his refusal to give up, and his willingness to stand by his presidency and see it through to the end, will pay off in the long run.  He is not one to give up when the obstacles become too great, nor back away from a challenge.  He will continue to go to work every day until his term as president is complete.  Just as anyone must overcome such burdens as uncertainty and doubt, Obama recognizes this as a key to success, and instead of hovering over such issues, he has and will continue to overcome them.  This is the mark of a great leader.  Someone who is willing to go on when the going is hardest and to stand by his failures and his successes, and it is in this ability that he will continue to inspire and motivate individuals for generations to come.