“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
As a leader and learner I have referred people to this Steve Jobs video when trying to explain how I want to live my life, and how I encourage others to see the world. I find this to be the secret in finding success, in the idea that anybody can create an innovative product that can change the world for the better. This idea that every person, regardless of circumstances, can create something insanely great is a freeing concept once you fully accept it. It means that each of us has the power to change the world.
In light of the recent passing of the awe-inspiring leader Nelson Mandela, I have been thinking about how his legacy is a true embodiment of how one person can drastically improve the world that we live in. This one man over the course of his 95 years of life never stopped fighting for the social justice causes that he believed in, and as a result has transformed South Africa, and the world’s past present and future. Although he is just one man, he was able to reach out and connect with others with a shared vision for a racially reconciled and liberated South Africa, and by doing this was able to change the world for the better. Despite many obstacles, most prominently his 27 years imprisoned, Nelson Mandela lived the life of a man unchained and never tired from pursing his cause of ending Apartheid. The legacy of Mandela and example that he leaves for all of us is to never give up on our dreams, to never let limitations keep us from knowing that we are capable of inspiring and creating a better world.
So if you find yourself feeling like you are too young, too inexperienced, too “green,” or feeling small I hope that Steve Jobs’ words and example set by Nelson Mandela get you thinking about how no matter where you are in life, you have the power to influence, change, and create.