Last week Nelson Mandela died. While his health had been failing for several months, his passing still seemed to comes as a shock. His fellow countrymen are spending the next several days not just mourning his passing but celebrating his life. He was a monumental figure who transformed the trajectory of a whole people. He was a leader who fought for freedom and equality.
He was described as a humble man with the drive that allowed him to thrive as a sought after lawyer in Johannesburg during his early career. However it was his ability to recognize his purpose for social change that he subsequently devoted the balance of his life to human justice and civil rights. He was a leader that had vision and passion for what he believed was right. Mandela knew who he was as a person and he did not let anyone redefine his character or his beliefs.
So what does this mean for the average person. Is greatness only possible if you impact the course of history. Is it the recognition by your fellow countrymen that make you great. No, I believe that greatness is about the journey not the outcome.
Recognizing and defining who you are as a person. Being true to the content of your character and celebrating that person through action. Believing that you have a purpose in life, whether it be teaching at a local high school or being a stay at home mother, and not being afraid to follow your passion. While Nelson Mandela has been talked about in the same breath with Gandi and Martin Luther King, he stated that the most difficult task in his life was changing himself during the years that he was in prison, but it was his self transformation that allowed him to achieve greatness.