Abraham Lincoln loved to read Shakespeare and other literary works to an audience, complete with dramatic character voices. People loved to hear Abe read, he was captivating. He would become totally engrossed in delivering the lines of the play, verse, or prose he was reading with maximum impact.
Lincoln was in what modern day creativity scholar Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi would call a state of “flow” forgetting all else. Many creative producers achieve flow in their occupational work. What was unique about Lincoln was the intentionality with which he sought out that “flow state” in one of his primary liesure activities.
This “habit of play” that Lincoln exercised was likely learned in coping with early tragedy and loss in Lincoln’s life. It was invaluable in helping him keep a cool head and focus on being an effective Commander in Chief during what was arguably the nation’s most tenuous and strained age.
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