Day 5. Nelson Mandela Week. Going for Gold. 5 Steps to creating success & happiness
Today we celebrate day 5 of Nelson Mandela Week. Going for Gold. 5 Steps to creating a new level of success and happiness
Like all of us, Nelson Mandela’s life also went through various stages. Each stage prepared him for the next stage.
With the emerging of a new era of authentic living and leading, we also find the introduction of a new level of health, wealth, happiness, and success encoded as our DNA success-blueprint. It becomes inevitable that we take a glimpse into the life of a man who is globally not only revered as an iconic leader but a very successful man.
The questions are, What can we learn from the life of Nelson Mandel? Are these lessons still applicable today?
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Learning from the five stages in the life of Nelson Mandela
We can identify five important stages in the life of Nelson Mandela.
Stage 1. Childhood innocence and ignorance
As a child, Nelson Mandela romped in the fields, took care of the cattle, while playing with his friends. They lived off the land with a basic organic diet. His mother was the primary caregiver. At this stage, Madiba lived a life of child-like innocence. This also included isolation from the larger tribes and ignorance about the world outside of the tribe.
Madiba's father, who was the principal councilor to the Acting King of the Thembu people, died when Rolihlahla was a young boy of twelve years old. Madiba became a ward of Jongintaba at the Great Place in Mqhekezweni. Here he grew up as Tembu royalty and was exposed to the elder’s stories of his ancestor’s valour during the wars of resistance. While straddling two worlds, the traditional culture of his tribe and the hostile reality of a white-dominated nation, he dreamed of making his own contribution to the freedom struggle of his people.
The opposing principles of these two mindsets later proved to be a major source of inspiration and a motivator of his success as an iconic leader.
The question is, what did your childhood prepare you for?
Stage 2. The Calling
Madiba’s education consisted of primary schooling in Qunu. His junior certificate was completed at Clarkebury Boarding School Institute and Madiba went on to matriculate at the reputable Wesleyan Secondary School in Healdtown. Although he began his studies at the.
University College of Fort Hare he was expelled from the University for joining in a student protest. Madiba had heard his calling. He would stand up for something new and better, even if it meant being expelled. He had heard his calling as a ‘freedom fighter’.
Committed to the power of education, he completed his BA degree through the University of South Africa in 1943 and became a lawyer.
Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for almost 28 years, for living up to his calling.
The questions are, Have you heard your
calling? What is your calling? Have you answered your life’s calling? How? Where? Why?
Stage 3. Preparation
Although Nelson Mandela is respected and held in high regard for all the suffering he endured, something very special happened during all those years in prison and out of the eye of the public. During these years he was prepared not to be a counselor to the Thembu King, but a counselor to the world. He also had to let go of his hate and anger and focus on what was best for all.
Madiba said, “I knew if I didn’t let go of my hate and anger, I would stay in prison.’
Madiba was an ardent reader and read books that included The Shakespearean Plays, books by Mahatma Gandhi, Tolstoy, Martin Luther King, and others. These were all 'freedom fighters' in their own right. Madiba was being prepared to become a freedom fighter – not only for his people but for the soul of the world.
About this time in prison, Madiba said:
“One of the things that made me long to be back in prison
was that I had so little opportunity for reading,
thinking and quiet reflection after my release.”
During his time in prison, Madiba not only endured physical suffering as he toiled in the mines but he also was locked up in isolation. Here he needed to survive not only physically, but also mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. He needed to take care of his soul
In the end, Nelson Mandela left prison, a well-balanced, mature, wise, and prepared leader. He was ready to take in his place of service and make an indelible difference on the fabric of life.
The lessons we learn ae, you become what you read. You become the information you expose yourself to. Hardships can make you better or bitter. It is a choice.
The questions are, How have you been prepared for your calling? What do you read? Who do you listen to and follow? Why? How have your hardships shaped you for your calling?
Step 4. Service
It was a joyous occasion the day Nelson Mandela became President of South Africa in 2004. Madiba’s term of service had started. His service was not only to his people but to all the people of South Africa. His service spilled over to the world. Madiba became a bridge-builder and catalyst for peace, and prosperity that benefitted all people.
Today, we celebrate Nelson Mandela Day on 18th July every year with a call for 67-minutes of service.
The questions are, how are you of service to the greater good? What mark on the fabric of life will bear your name? Where do you live out your service? What place do you fill as your authentic self?
Step 5. Conclusion. Madiba’s golden years.
Very few people think about the end of Nelson Mandela’s life. The truth is, Madiba died a happy and fulfilled man. Not only was he respected by most people all over the world, but he was consulted by presidents, leaders, and decision-makers all over. He truly became 'the counselor to the king.'
The last part of Madiba’s life was totally different from the first part of his life. Not only did Madiba turn a country and the world around, but he also succeeded in creating a life of health, wealth, happiness, success, love, and kindness for himself and his loved ones.
At the end of his life, Madiba was surrounded by his people, he had found the love of his life in Graça Machel Mandela, his wife. Madiba was financially free and could live a comfortable old age in his house in Houghton. With a private secretary, support staff, house staff, and luxuries that included a limousine with a chauffeur, private tailor, cook, and gardener, and flights on private jets, one could even call this a luxury five-star life. However, none of this was important to Madiba.
What was important was that he achieves his goal. His calling was clear. He would bring freedom to the people -all people. He called it -The Long Walk to Freedom. By listening and fulfilling his calling, everything else he needed, and more, gets included. This is real, authentic success.
The questions are, Will your end look better than the beginning? What will your ‘retirement’ look like? Is it a stage of the conclusion of living your purpose? Will you complete your Long Walk to Freedom and of fulfilling your calling? Do happiness and fulfillment take center stage?
Going for Gold
Like an Olympic Gold medal, a medal is given to those who accomplish great things. If it existed, we could give Nelson Mandela a Gold Medal for living an exemplary life. Now we have the call to – go for gold. Is your life a medal-worthy example of excellence? Are you truly successful?
. Real authentic success.
The true meaning of success is, to function authentically. The definition of failure is, the inability to function authentically. True success is primarily not about acquiring positions and possessions, it is all about leading a fully functional life, only the way you can. You can only become fully functional if you know who you are and what your purpose and function are.
· Fake success
Unfortunately, many people just want all the glitz, glamour, and five-star luxury. They think it will make them happy and successful. However, they neglect to walk the path, the Long Walk to Freedom. These are people who need to learn that when you live on purpose and do what needs to be done, the rest is given to you.
· Madiba haters
However, not everyone would give Madiba a gold medal for living an outstanding life. Many people were not pleased with what Nelson Mandela did and with the turn of events. Today we have angry warmongers who are still angry and even despise Nelson Mandela for not taking the bloody warpath. He even gets blamed for letting down his clan, his culture, and his people. Many try very hard to keep Madiba’s mindset, values, and leadership example, out of the system.
On the other side, we find 'Madiba haters' who are still caught up in their own world of anger, ignorance, hate, fear, resentment, discrimination, judgment, and prejudice. Judgment is passed and Madiba is labeled as a heathen and the antichrist.
In Psychology, we call this projection. Projection means that when people cannot deal with their own issues, they project it onto someone or something else they can blame, shame, judge and condemn. It releases the pressure, but nothing is solved.
Listening to people's reactions to Nelson Mandel is also a giveaway of where they are coming from. It is also very revealing what is going on within. It is from this prison we need to help people escape. Nelson Mandela had a very special view of people.
Madiba said, "Man's goodness can be hidden, but never extinguished."