He was a revolutionary political leader and philanthropist, who needs no introduction, he is none other than the late Nelson Mandela. As the world celebrates and honours this remarkable leader annually, on the 18th of July, which was his birthday, today, I want to make reference to some inspiring Nelson Mandela quotes by reflecting on what they mean to me and hopefully it will serve as an inspirational reminder to you.
“Live life as though nobody is watching, and express yourself as though everyone is listening”
There were many times in my life, that I was overly focused about what other people would think if I did something, often, most of these people didn’t’ matter in my life as they had or made no impact to my life at all.
It took a while, but I realised that I should live my life the way I want to. I should do things that my heart feels close to and not be influenced nor discouraged in any way, by people who do not matter to me.
When I learned how to do this, I began to truly enjoy my life. I tell myself, “no matter what you do, people will talk about it anyway,” I console myself in that thought and remind myself every now and then, that it is my life and I must be free to do as I please. The only opinions that count, are the people who matter to me. When you are carefree and live freely, life is so much more enjoyable. It’s great to just let your hair down without having any reservations.
I have also learned and am forever practicing to think before I speak. I am naturally a very outspoken person, so it is a continuous journey for me, in ensuring that I express myself in a manner that suits my audience. Sometimes I have no filters and I do think it’s good to be that way, but I also have learned, that at times, the way that I say things, may not reflect my intention and in such cases, I ask myself, “is it the right place?” “Is this the right forum?” Is this the right person/people to address this with?” “Is this necessary?”
Just this weekend I slipped up and said something so inappropriate – it was at the wrong place, wrong time, wrong audience and absolutely unnecessary. I realised it after the fact and I acknowledge that I am only human and I make mistakes. As I said, I am aware of it and working on it and I think that’s important.
“Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”
If you’ve been following my blog for a while now, you will know that I have not held back on my past. It wasn’t a pretty picture. I have been hurt, I have been lied to, I have been robbed, in more than one way.
I lost almost everything at one stage in my life, including the desire to live. I could go on with a list here, but that’s not my point.
My point is that people look at me now, they judge me by the food I eat, places I go to, happy marriage I have, etc. However, they don’t know what it took to get there. I remind myself every now and again, of how far I’ve come and what strength I have or had, to overcome all of that. For me, that is important, so whilst people have and will still judge me, so be it.
“People respond in accordance to how you treat them”
I will ashamedly and regretfully admit that there were instances in the past, where I was rude to a waiter at a restaurant, because of something that was wrong with my order.
My husband pointed this out and I felt embarrassed. I didn’t realise the impact of my behaviour and ever since, I changed my approach.
It was not always the waiters fault and even if it was, that didn’t give me the right to be rude to them. They are doing their job, often very busy and mistakes can occur – just like how I make mistakes, they too are human after all!
So are the car guards that watch our cars in all types of weather. They deserve respect. They deserve a generous tip wherever you park and no matter how many different parkades you go to.
I don’t mean any disrespect to anyone but I want to say, if you can’t or don’t treat people nicely and with respect all year round, it doesn’t mean much when you do something once a year on the 18th of July and post selfies about it – it’s not about you, it’s about how you treat others and the difference you make in their lives, no matter how small or big.
“Forget the past”
Whether this refers to politics, personal relationships, family relationships or work relationships, it is always a good idea to forget the past. The only reason you should look back is to acknowledge and appreciate how far you have come.
When I first met my husband, it was difficult at first to trust him – I could not believe that such a man existed. He was a man of his word, he still is. But that wasn’t normal for me, based on the previous relationships I was in. But this was the new normal! I soon learned that this was for real and that he was not like past experiences and that I should not paint him with the same brush but more importantly, he did not deserve to be compared to those experiences! He is an individual and should be judged for who he is, not by my past. This taught me a very important lesson in life; give everyone the benefit of doubt unless or until they do something to break that trust.
Holding on to the past, will not help you move forward. Being bitter about love or someone who broke your trust in some way, will not allow you to be open to new opportunities for love, because you are wasting your time and energy on something that happened in the past. Let go, look forward, be optimistic. Not just in love relationships, but also in any aspect of life in general.
“I never lose, I either win or I learn”
If you don’t understand the concept of healthy competition, you should not be competing. It is sad to see some people so focused on winning, that they lose focus on why they started whatever in the first place.
If you’re going to participate in a race, enjoy the whole experience. Even if you don’t win, look at reasons why and use them as learning experiences.
Whether you’re in sales or are a blogger – who doesn’t get that sale or partnership with a brand – so what? It’s not always going work out the way you hoped. You win some, you lose some. Get up, get over it, learn and think about what you could have done differently. Give it some time and try again if you must! Don’t become sour or bitter.
“What counts is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead”
Whilst what you say and congruent actions are important, people won’t specifically remember what you said or did, what they will remember is how you made them feel. The reason that I started this blog, is that I hoped to be an inspiration through my writing, by sharing my life experiences so that others could be motivated.
I know that I have many visitors to my blog that are just here for the competitions and that’s aright too. If I am able to facilitate the process of a giveaway that brings joy to someone, that makes me happy too. But I also know, through the messages I receive, that I touch the lives of many through this blog. For me, this is significant. It is one of the ways that I can and I enjoy, being able to make a positive difference, even if it’s sometimes only just to create awareness around certain topics, events, people, places or products.
“May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears”
This is such a pertinent, simple yet sometimes difficult to execute principle in life. How often do you find that yourself or others around you, make decisions based on fear?
“I did this because I was afraid to…”
“I didn’t know how, so I chose this instead…”
If you choose things out of fear, you will not realise your hopes and your dreams. Sometimes, taking calculated risks are good, they can be great! But if you always fear, you will never know. The fear of the unknown creates a barrier which prohibits us from growing and achieving greater things in life.
If you’re afraid of speaking in public that have a message you want to share – your message will never get out there if your fear is greater than your hopes.
If you don’t know how to work on PowerPoint and get someone else to do your presentations because you’re afraid you will not be able to do it…you will never be able to do it because you’re not allowing yourself the chance to do so!
I experienced heartache and pain but I didn’t give up on love, I had hope, I had faith and it was greater than my fear! I’m now a proudly happily married woman and mother.
“The greatest glory in living is not in falling, but in rising every time we fall”
When a child is learning how to ride a bicycle, we encourage him/her to get up and try again and again. The same principle should apply for everything in life – okay, maybe not skydiving…okay, sorry, let me be serious…
…No matter how many times you don’t achieve something (notice, I didn’t say fail), it doesn’t mean that it will never happen. Don’t give up. Persevere. Try, try and try again. Don’t underestimate your strength, you’re so much stronger than you believe or realise!
Rise to the challenge. Rise to a new day and ask yourself, what and how is it that you will make a positive difference on that day and every day. Rise to become a new and improved you. No matter how many times you fall, it’s the strength to rise that sets you apart from the rest.
No matter how many times you’ve had your heart broken, no matter how many deals you have lost, no matter how many business ideas that didn’t fruition, no matter how many times your recipe didn’t turn out great – be inspired to rise again and do things differently this time.
Which is your favourite quote of Nelson Mandela? It doesn’t have to be from this post.