“Difficulties break some men but make others. No axe is sharp enough to cut the soul of a sinner who keeps on trying, one armed with the hope that he will rise even in the end.” – Nelson Mandela
When I think of a life well lived, I think of Nelson Mandela.
With the passing of Nelson Mandela I have been reflecting on the true greatness of his life. Greatness not for what he achieved, but what he overcame. He spent almost a third of his life in jail after receiving a life sentence for fighting for the rights of black South Africans. We all know how the story ends with him being freed and becoming the first black president of South Africa. What a triumphant end to a tumultuous story.
What stands out to me is the mental fortitude it took to stay in his cell every day for 27 years and maintain a spirit of hope. I often struggle to maintain hope about small things like whether I will beat traffic on my way home from work or whether my car will see me through year fifteen.
He’s definitely a better man than me. Or is he?
Mandela learned to let go of resistance and accept what is. He released fear, resistance and anger, and held on to wisdom, hope, and peace. There was something within him that guided his strength and helped him quiet the noise of his situation. I call this the “Mandela Mindset”.
This week I was reminded that I have everything that Mandela had. After a week of struggling through a work situation, I finally stopped resisting the situation and found my peace. I adopted the Mandela Mindset. As a result, an amazing amount of clarity came to me that not only gave me the answer to my current problem, but also a vision and plan for next year. Had I continued to resist, I would have not had space to receive this clarity.
When I am resisting what is it’s because I’ve let the outside noise drown out my inner voice of wisdom. The noise becomes so loud that I lose sight of the assuredness of my original direction. It causes me to change course and sometimes want to give up altogether.
What if Mandela had given up one day too soon? He would have never realized the true purpose of his journey: to go from prisoner to President and become an iconic leader across the world.
All things work out in the end. If it doesn’t work out it’s not the end.
Are you willing to adopt the Mandela Mindset related to a challenge you are currently facing? Do you have the mental strength to stand steadfast in what you alone know to be true? Will you refuse to give up and wait it out to see what gift is on the other side?