Living at Your Peak Every Day
I often travel to South Africa. One of South Africa’s favorite heroes is Nelson Mandela. But depending who you talk to, some South Africans think he is the greatest leader in history of the world and others think he is not even worth mentioning. However, one thing nobody can deny is his remarkable rise from being a prisoner on Robben Island to becoming the president of the entire country.
Richard Stengel, Time Magazine editor and author of Mandela’s Way: Lessons of Life, traveled with him almost every day for three years. In the book’s first chapter, “Courage is not the Absence of Fear,” he reveals one of Mandela’s key lessons of life: One had to put up a front. Sometimes it is only through putting up a brave front that you discover true courage. Sometimes the front is courage.
He concludes the chapter with this great statement:
Mandela’s highest praise for someone he considered courageous is, “He did very well.” By that he does not mean that the fellow was a dramatic hero or that he risked his life in a great endeavor, but that, day in and day out, he remained steady under trying circumstances. That, day in and day out, he resisted giving in to fear and anxiety. All of us are capable of that kind of bravery—and fortunately, that is the only bravery most of us are called on to demonstrate.
Each new day presents us with new opportunities, challenges, problems to solve, and people to encounter. When these “life issues” present themselves, you want to be at your best. How can I always perform, speak, lead, behave, sell, or whatever you do in life at your best?
Richard Stengel, Mandela’s Way (London: Virgin Books 2010), 32.
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