Don’t Belittle ……..  Be BIG!

Mental health and personal development

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions.  Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you too can become great.”  Mark Twain.

Following his release from prison on the 11th February 1990, after spending 27 years behind bars for being brave enough to stand up for his dreams, Nelson Mandela committed himself to peace and reconciliation.  He could have belittled the government of the day and could have spent the rest of his days seeking revenge on those who had imprisoned him for so much of his life.

Yet he chose to teach his generation and successive generations that true greatness comes through humility and the desire to make peace.  And in doing so Mandela has become one of the truly great leaders and statesmen, ever.

During his time in prison, many people, mostly the leaders of the day, went out of their way to attempt to belittle the man who to most South African’s, black and white, has become known as ‘tata’ or father in Xhosa.  Many others, including his then-wife, other family, friends, and comrades, urge Mandela to take his revenge, both physically and verbally.

In the years after his release, many in his own party and a great many people around the world have criticized his values and his dream of a non-racial, rainbow nation, even while accepting that he has been the sole catalyst for real and lasting peace.  Despite 27 years of imprisonment, the opposition and criticism of thousands, Madiba stood firm by his dream and has seen that dream become a reality.

He had a vision of what he wanted his world to look like and was committed to see that happen no matter what changes took place around him.  During all these years, the technological advances he could not have envisaged, the political transformations he could not have seen and economic and financial revolutions he could not have imagined occurred over which he had absolutely no control!

These things, however, never dimmed his vision or dream.  That dream.  That vision burned too brightly in his heart to be diminished by circumstances and people.  His dream and vision overcame his and other people’s prejudices to become a reality that has changed the lives of millions of people.

The question is are you like Mandela’s family friends, comrades and enemies, who through your words, actions and reactions, try to reduce the goals, dreams and visions of other people and attempt to make them less than they are? 

Or do you more like Mandela have a vision and a dream for life and business that is strong and not swayed by the opinions of others or by circumstances?

As far as I know, Mandela never intentionally pull other people down, but built them up and has seen his dream and vision become a reality.  Will yours follow suit?

Never belittle.  Don’t focus on the things you can change.  Never focus on other people’s opinions.  Focus on your dreams.  Be big!

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