“The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
(Nelson Mandela – Long Walk to Freedom)
We recently had the opportunity to take our three Home-Base young people to see the statue of Nelson Mandela in Nelson Mandela Square, Sandton. Standing at his feet was an inspiring moment for all of us as we thought about the life he lived and the greatness Nelson Mandela inspired in others. This led me to think about the life of Nelson Mandela. He lived the above words. He conquered the fear that could have held him back – that could have prevented him from seeing his dream of a democratic South Africa from becoming a reality. Our challenge to young people who are part of our Home-Base residential programme and those whom we encounter in schools as we do career workshops, is to live a full life, to not allow fear of the unknown, fear of failure or fear of the future to hold one back. We are called to live full lives. We are called to live lives of purpose and meaning, not just to run through life like a hamster on a treadmill.
As we took the journey last week it really struck me how important it is to learn from others. This is why I strongly recommend to young people that they read a lot. I encourage young people to read biographies of people they admire. There is so much we can learn and apply in our own lives. Nelson Mandela’s life, for example, has so many important lessons for each of us. His book, Long Walk to Freedom, offers some incredible lessons. I also recently enjoyed reading a book on his life, called Mandela’s Way which provided some thought provoking insights on who Nelson Mandela was as well as what shaped him.
As you journey through this week, recognize that:
1. Your journey is unique – enjoy it and explore what God has for you
2. Learn from others – Learn from those who have gone before you and learnt the lessons of the past, learn from others in the career you are interested in, read and explore as widely as possible.
3. Be true to yourself – Be true to who you are. Stretch yourself where you need to be stretched. Ask yourself the really hard questions. But in all of this, be true to who you are – not who others want you to be, not to who society expects you to be, but to who God has created you to be.
Enjoy the adventure!