What Mandela's life says to me

It's not dreaming dreams that make them true. It's doing dreams that make them true.


Nelson Mandela gave a copy of this excerpt called "Man in the Arena" from a speech by Theodore Roosevelt to François Pienaar, captain of the South African rugby team, before the start of the 1995 Rugby World Cup.

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."

Mandela didn't stop at pointing out what was wrong. He went into the arena and spent himself in a worthy cause. He demonstrated the willingness to go first. He used 'weapons' of civility, grace, and forgiveness.

If your goal is to change the world. Be careful how you tear it apart so when you put it back together it will last.

How you win each small battle will ultimately decide whether you win the big one.


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