27 Years

Nelson Mandela upon release from prison

“During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to the struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

-Nelson Mandela

On my mind tonight is the perspective of perseverance, passion, and perspective as it relates to our leadership and ourselves. 

I have a personal lesson learned about perseverance in the last ten days, but I need to let another week go by before writing about it–to see if the lesson learned has actually stuck. As I’ve gone through the last few days I have been uplifted by hearing of stories of challenge and perseverance and ones leadership. At times it’s really helpful to hear about people that you thought had it all–or appeared to–yet they still struggled. Alternatively, you hear about someone who has seemed to have  “arrived”, but then go on to learn what they went through in order to get closer to their destination. 

Nelson Mandela was such a man. And you can read a brief backgrounder here

Here’s a person who spent 27 years in prison, among other trials and tribulations throughout his life. Think about the length of that, and if you literally had nearly three decades of your life taken from you. Or, for those that are younger, imagine being committed for another 20 years to imprisonment. A year would feel like an eternity (heck, some “tough days” feel like an eternity). I can’t imagine 27 stacked back-to-back years. 

So, today, there are two simple quotes from Nelson Mandela that inspire me with a lesson of leadership. One’s about purpose and passion, which is the quote that originated at the beginning of this blog entry. 

The other, which I’ll use to close, is about perspective amidst or in spite of difficulty. 

“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”

-Nelson Mandela

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One Reply to “27 Years”

  1. Rich I knew a man once similar to Nelson Mandela. His name was Pastor Richard Wurmbrand. Him and his wife were very good friends of ours. I suggest you look him up on the internet.

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