The passing of Nelson Mandela has reminded me and the world of the determination of one person to change the world. We each have the chance to make a difference in the world. We are presented with challenges in life and given choices. Many times we don’t know that we have choices. We feel stuck and out of control. Certainly that is what Nelson Mandela could have done that, but he didn’t. He chose to maintain his choice in how he lived his life. Even after 27 years of mostly solitary confinement, he chose not to hate his guards. In fact he had them seated prominently at his inauguration. He could have ordered an uprising by the blacks to destroy the white government of South Africa. Instead he chose to forgive and unite the country, and by example the world.
In my book “Keep On Believing,” the stories have demonstrated this exactly this principle. We are offered choices each day in our lives. No matter the situation, there is a choice of how we respond to it. Our perception of life affects how we see life and therefore what we decide it means.
Five people can all witness the same thing and each have a different view and make it mean completely different things. Yet each believing that what they made it mean is 100% the truth. Can you remember a time when you felt you knew what was so, and later found out it was completely different? You probably have seen it in movies or in books, but perhaps you haven’t recognized it in your own life.
The way to empower yourself is to be aware of how you “see” things. Be open to looking at things differently. Like Randy Pausch talked about in the last lecture, It’s about how you play your hand. Are you a Tigger or an Eeyore? From Winnie the Pooh, Tigger was the eternal optimist, and Eeyore was the eternal pessimist. Life is about choosing how you deal with life. Professor Pausch demonstrated the epitome of optimism. Even when he was dying, he kept a positive attitude. Read or watch The Last Lecture. Your life will be better for it.
Keep On Believing is a message we all need to embrace that message. If you learn that, you will get through anything.