Like most of the world, I have been mourning and celebrating the life of Nelson Mandela, Madiba, Tata. He is widely known for the following profound quote, penned by Marianne Williamson:Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?” Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
Mandela did not play small. He shone, like a beacon, even in prison. He never gave up. It is wonderful that his physical body survived 27 years in jail. That his mind remained strong is amazing. But that his spirituality deepened to the point that he found a way to lead his nation in forgiveness is nothing short of a miracle.
It would have been easy as a young man – before incarceration – to believe that changing his country’s oppressive apartheid laws was simply impossible. It would have been easy as a middle-aged man – during incarceration – to succumb to despair. It would have been easy as an older man – after incarceration – to become triumphant and vindictive.
When I went to Harvard Business School, I met an impressive man fromSouth Africa who had just reached adulthood when Mandela was freed. He said, “We would have done anything … ANYTHING that Mandela decreed. We were full of passion and anger, and ready to wage war against those who had oppressed us.” He went on to tell us that Mandela led his people the other way and changed the course of history, saved untold lives, and transformed perhaps millions of people.
English: Photo of the first peace badge made by Eric Austen for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in 1958 from Gerald Holtom’s original design. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Since I was a small child, I have been captivated by the concept of peace, particularly world peace. I was born the year thepeace sign was created (1959), which was originally an acronym standing for nuclear disarmament. Mandela’s name will forever be synonymous with peace. May his legacy live on around the world, and may we celebrate his magnificent leadership for generations.Madiba magic (Photo credit: warrenski)
Attached is a link to Richard Branson‘s views on Mandela’s leadership.