It’s not often that I get to share my love for inspiring, thought-provoking quotes with my admiration for a global icon.
But today is a special day. It’s the day that the visionary leader Nelson Mandela will be finally laid to rest in his ancestral home, Qunu, South Africa.
As South Africans ponder their future without Madiba, there are many lessons we can all take from the life and legacy of this extraordinary man.
Like many of you, I grew up thousands of miles away in a country that wasn’t divided by a racist political system called apartheid.
But Britain in the 1980s had its fair share of social and economic problems that could be felt up and down the country. Although I was too young to understand the troubles in Northern Ireland, the race riots in Brixton or why the coal miners were striking, I knew that times were changing.
So years later when Mandela emerged among a sea of cameras, I was glued to the TV like millions of other people.
I saw how this humble, smiling former prisoner filled the world with hope and belief.
From that day forward I understood the power of following your dream no matter what. I experienced what inspiration and authentic leadership can do for you and your world.
6 Life Lessons From Nelson Mandela
Let’s take a look at 6 inspiring quotes by Nelson Mandela that can help you transform your business and your life. I’ve expanded upon each one to help you relate them to creating your lifestyle business.
These are just my interpretations and you may not agree with everything I say. But I hope they make you think and inspire you to make changes in how you run your business.
There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.
Nelson Mandela could have made a comfortable life for himself as a young lawyer and later one half of Mandela And Tambo, the only law firm in South Africa run by blacks at the time. After all, there was plenty of work helping the aggrieved black population!
But this wasn’t enough for Mandela. He wanted real change, a fair and equal society where blacks and whites could rule together in a democracy.
There is a great lesson in this for me and you.
Don’t settle in life. Follow your heart. Be a part of something you believe in. Do something that matters.
This could be anything – big or small, local or global, personal or world-changing. The key thing is that it has meaning for you.
When you engage yourself in something you strongly believe in, your energy and passion naturally attracts more happiness into your life, and magnetizes the right people, opportunities and events to help you get to the next stage.
Passion is very contagious. You just can’t hide it so go out there and do something you love.
It always seems impossible until it’s done.
Nothing in this world is impossible and Mandela’s own story reminds us of that.
From lawyer to political activist, from prisoner to the president of a nation and global iconic leader, Mandela had to endure far more than many of us can even imagine.
Right now, you might now know exactly what you want to do or whether it is the right step. You might even doubt if you have enough talent to pull it off or question if you’re good enough.
You might surprise yourself.
You are a work in progress and making mistakes and experiencing setbacks is part of the process. It’s impossible to live without failing from time to time.
Remember it doesn’t matter how many times you stumble or fall, as long as you keep going moving forwards. As Mandela has shown, overcoming obstacles is the only way to reach your dreams.
Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.
Education played a key role in Nelson Mandela’s life, even though his own parents were illiterate.
He attended a mission school as a child and then a Western-style boarding school. He later studied law and became involved in politics with influences as diverse as Anton Lembede, Karl Marx and Mahatma Gandhi.
None of this education went to waste.
Nelson Mandela was able to draw upon this learning while he was in prison to mobilize support from around the world for the struggle against apartheid, and then later as president.
Education is key to moving forward in life but it’s also important when you are creating your lifestyle business.
In the beginning you have to put in a lot of hours to learn your craft. At least 10,000 hours according to Malcom Gladwell.
As Gladwell explains in his riveting book Outliers, there are no instant experts. Most of us need to invest roughly 10,000 hours of practice (or 5 years of 8-hour days) to achieve mastery in any field.
Of course it may take you far less time or even longer. But if you know in advance that perfecting a skill is going to take some time, you can prepare yourself. You can also keep yourself motivated even when things don’t work out.
That’s why I suggest starting with your passion when you are thinking about a niche. It will cut down the learning time if you focus on something you already know about or are interested in.
A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.
One of the most remarkable things about Nelson Mandela is that everything he did was to help others.
His relentless struggle against apartheid was for the people of South Africa, not for himself.
If you’ve been watching the TV since Nelson Mandela’s passing you will have no doubt been struck by the huge outpouring of love by South Africans for their beloved leader.
At times, the celebration of his life resembled scenes from the 2010 soccer World Cup than a statesman’s funeral!
But this is a perfect demonstration of a golden rule for business and for life.
In life, you get what you put in.
The more you help others, the more you get back in return. The more generous you are with your time and knowledge, the more you will receive.
In short, whenever you make a positive impact in someone’s life, you end up enriching your own life.
Your reward may not come from that same person or source. In fact, it most likely won’t.
But that’s not the point.
Do it anyway.
Money won’t create success, the freedom to make it will.
Under apartheid blacks could not run businesses or professional practices in areas designated as “white South Africa” unless they had a permit. They had to move to the black “homelands” and set up businesses and practices there.
Of course, we all need money to survive. But too many of us spend a lot of time worrying about money, trying to find ways to get more of it or resigning ourselves to making it for others via a job.
The truth is that money alone will not guarantee success.
While you do need some money to start your online business, the real gold is inside of you …your ideas, your talents and your knowledge.
You can start today, where you are, with what you have and begin to build the business that will enable you to live your dream lifestyle.
#6. MOVING ON
Forget the past.
Consider this empowering thought.
Your past does not define who you are, it prepares you for who you can become.
Most of the images today of Nelson Mandela exude calmness, hope, optimism and gentleness.
In fact, there are very few signs of the ordeal he must have gone through during his long years of imprisonment.
Who could endure that kind of suffering from the enemy and not wish for revenge? No one would blame Nelson Mandela for hating his captors.
Yet perhaps Nelson Mandela’s greatest legacy to the world is his incredible capacity for forgiveness.
The photo above shows Nelson Mandela being jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 with his former foe, President FW de Klerk, South Africa’s last apartheid leader.
Nelson Mandela once said “I knew that if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison”. This included reconciliation.
It’s a powerful lesson.
Forgiveness doesn’t excuse the past or the people involved, it simply allows you to cut the chord between you and them. It lets you make peace with the situation and move on with your life.
The simple act of forgiveness can transform you from being a victim to a victor overnight.
So don’t deny yourself the chance to be and have everything you want by holding onto old hurts, failures and resentments.
Forget the haters. Ignore the doubters. Stop judging yourself by your past.
Let go and look forward.
Today people all over the world will be remembering this inspirational man.
Right now, there is a generation of young people in South Africa and around the world who cannot recall the world before him. There are others who cheered when Mandela was sworn in as South Africa’s first black president in 1994.
Perhaps like me you were inspired to see Mandela walk out in the South African sunshine as a free man after 27 years of prison in 1990. Some of you may even remember his imprisonment in the 1960s for acts of terrors against the South African state.
Regardless where you live in the world, we can all remember this truly great leader and keep Nelson Mandela’s legacy alive by injecting the energy and spirit of Madiba into our daily lives
Have you been inspired by Nelson Mandela and his legacy? Please leave a comment below and share your insights with us.