One of the most important things when it comes to educating ourselves is asking, “Who do we listen to?”
It’s important that we not just take the advice of any old person who calls them self an expert, and instead listen to those people who are the way we want to be, and who are living proof of what it is that they teach.
When it comes to being and doing something great, and really using our life to make a difference and create positive change, who better to listen to than Nelson Mandela?
His recent passing has brought a rarely seen influx of positivity to mainstream news sources; his story is inspirational, for sure, but let’s not leave it at that.
On the occasion of his passing, what better time to reflect upon what made him so successful and influential, and to ask ourselves, “What can we learn from Nelson Mandela about how to make a big-ass difference in the world?”
Here’s a place to start, with seven things we can learn from this magnificent man:
1. Play Big
Following our passions means playing big, and yes, that can be scary (if you haven’t already, you can check out my post on The Truth About Following Your Passions). We can play small if we want, but only do so if we are willing to settle for a life that is less than the one we are capable of living.
Where are you playing small?
What will happen if you never live the great life you know you are capable of living?
2. Honor Failure
We need to honor failure in ourselves, and in others. It is only through our failures that we learn what does not work, and are able to come closer to what will work.
Those who do great things in the world always fail before they succeed; they always have others wonder what the heck they are doing, and they are often heavily judged.
If you get back up when you fail, acknowledge yourself for that, and know you are on the path to greatness (because all great people have been there).
How do you feel when you try at something and don’t succeed? How do you respond to yourself? How do you respond to others?
How would you ideally respond to both your own failures and the failures of others?
3. Do Your Self-Work
“As I have said, the first thing is to be honest with yourself. You can never have an impact on society if you have not changed yourself…Great peacemakers are all people of integrity, of honesty, but humility.” ~ Nelson Mandela
Our outer world is merely a reflection of our inner worlds.
We must first be at peace on the inside, before we can instigate greater peace and harmony on the outside. Do whatever work you need to do on yourself in order to be great, and the rest will flow naturally from that.
What do you need to change in order to be your greatest? Why is that important to you? What will it cost you to not make that change?
“As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” ~
Nelson Mandela [Oops! This is Marianne Williamson. ~ ed.]
This ties in closely with doing your self-work.
We need to show up at our best and brightest, and once we do, we inspire others to do the same. Taking care of ourselves physically, and infusing greater positivity into our lives, is a great place to start.
What will help you to better shine your light? What can you do to make sure you are showing up at your best-est and brightest every day?
5. Be Persistent
“A winner is a dreamer who never gives up.” ~ Nelson Mandela
How often do people give up on their dreams, or not even pursue them at all, because they have the belief that they must give up on their dreams in order to pay the bills?
Nelson Mandela had a dream, and he didn’t give up—not to pay the bills, and not even to get out of jail.
What is your (perhaps secret) dream? What can you do today to take action on your dream?
6. Be Great
“Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice. Like Slavery and Apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. You can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.” ~ Nelson Mandela
Poverty is man-made. War is man-made. Environmental degradation is man-made.
We can turn all these things around, and it is our responsibility to step in to our greatness to make the biggest impact possible. We all have a unique thing that we were put on this Earth to do, something that nobody else can do—find it and when you do, own it!
We need more Nelson Mandela’s in the world.
What would be possible if even just 10 more people stepped fully into their power, and pursued their world-changing dreams at the intensity of Nelson Mandela? What if there were 100 people like this? 1000? 10,000? Oh my!
7. You are Meant to be Great
“We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, handsome, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?” ~
Nelson Mandela [Whoops, this is Marianne Williamson ~ ed.]
Don’t hold back, because you are great; it’s your destiny.
Imagine your most ideal version of yourself—what does that look like? How fabulous, gorgeous and brilliant are you? What’s preventing you from being that person today?
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Editor: Laura Ashworth