On the 6th of December 2013 I woke up to the news that Nelson Mandela had died the night before.
I remember feeling a sense of deep loss, a sense of emptiness and an overwhelming sense of gratitude for all that he had done.
By lunch time that day I felt an overwhelming urge to visit his house in Houghton. I cannot explain what lead me there, I only knew that I had to go, so that I could pay my respects to a man that had inspired me and meant so much to me over the years.
As I stood in front of his house that afternoon amongst a mixed crowd of people whose lives he had touched, I wondered how it was possible for one man to influence so many different types of people, from billionaires to little children to heads of state. And then it struck me, Nelson Mandela was able to connected with that which we all have in common. He reminds us of our shared beauty.
In the 10 days that followed I visited his house almost daily. As I stood in front of the mountain of flower and messages on the 10th day, I was overcome by a sense that I had to do something to honour his legacy. I became very still and made a vow to live by at least one of his virtues for the next year. It was the virtue of being true to myself and living my life in accordance with that.
I called it my Madiba resolution.
Throughout the year the promise was like a compass pointing me in the right direction, especially when things seemed unclear and uncertain. Whenever I would inadvertently stray, I would be reminded by a random event to get back on track. Making the promise on that day in front of his house, in dedication to all that he represented and had sacrificed, seemed to keep me on course. It gave me a sense of purpose.
Having a sense of purpose in your life gives you a greater sense of satisfaction and ultimately makes you happier.
How would you like to commemorate Nelson Mandela’s legacy?
Instead of making a new year’s resolution this year, how about making a Madiba resolution?
Here’s how to do it.
Choose one of the Mandela qualities that you would like to commit to next year.
Then think of how this would directly relate to your life, maybe it relates to your family life, or your job or your health.
And then make it a Madiba resolution by promising to commit to this vision of yourself for next year, as a dedication to Madiba.
Challenge yourself to do something bold and exciting and adventurous. When we challenge ourselves and go beyond ourselves we actually achieve more than we think is possible.
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Make sure to write it down and put it somewhere that you will see it every day, such as your fridge, or on your bathroom mirror.
Share your promise in the comments below and let me know how it goes.
Take care and keep living a life of joy right now.
Dr G Chiba