By Robin Sharma
Global Leadership Expert. #1 Bestselling Author. Humanitarian.
I haven’t been in touch with you as much as usual as I was on a profound trip that has shaped me considerably.
I worked on my new book The 5 am Club in Rome. Delivered a keynote to the leadership team of Vodacom in JoBurg. Then flew down to Cape Town, before a few weeks in magical Mauritius for another event and more refinements on the book that is consuming so much of my creativity.
In Cape Town, I made a long-standing dream come true: I took a boat ride to Robben Island for a private tour with an ex-political prisoner who now serves as a guide there. This remarkable gentleman, who I feel immensely grateful to, allowed me directly inside Nelson Mandela’s prison cell.
For 18 years in this tiny space (see the picture), with no bed and utterly inhumane conditions, The Great Nelson Mandela learned to transcend fear, find forgiveness and advance his cause–elevating our world in the process.
I was moved by what I witnessed and feel compelled to share a few of the key lessons I learned with you so you do your part to open up to the hero within you and reclaim your truest private power:
Lesson #1: To Lead is to Serve
I’ve been sharing this precise message for so many years but being in the prison cell emotionally brought it home as never before.
I asked my guide, who spent 8 years with Nelson Mandela on Robben Island, what this legendary human being was like. The guide paused. Then smiled. Then replied: “Oh, that man was a humble servant.”
In a world that defines success and power via what we take and accumulate, Nelson Mandela measured his worth through what he gave–and who he became.
I later learned that Nelson Mandela gave the money from his first paycheck as President of South Africa (which was the same amount as President F.W. de Klerk’s) away to charity.
Lesson #2: Learning Brings On Freedom
My guide also shared that every time Nelson Mandela would meet a fellow political prisoner he would repeat the same question: “Are you studying?”
He understood that an educated mind is a free mind. And the way out of confinement begins with unchaining one’s thinking.
All I know is that the fastest route to make your rise to your very best is through education. Read the books. Listen to the podcasts. Take the courses. Go to the conferences. Have smart conversations. Do the studying.
Because as you know more, you can achieve more.
Lesson #3: Install Grace
It hurt my heart to see a man as great as Nelson Mandela have to sleep on a cold floor for so many of his finest years.
It made me pause to stand in the limestone quarry where he would work in the dust (that damaged his lungs) and toil in the glare (that impaired his eyes).
It made me stop to see the courtyard where he would walk for exercise and the garden where the manuscript of his autobiography was hidden.
I learned of the wretched food he was given. The lack of privacy as he showered and the censored letters, designed to destroy his precious family.
And yet, through those 18 years on Robben Island (and for a total of 27 years in jail), he was always joking with fellow prisoners. He carried a smile. He stood upright. He kept his dignity. And he remained graceful…
…to the point where he chose to invite those who had imprisoned him to his inauguration as president of South Africa. When asked why he did so, his reply was simple: “If I didn’t, I’d still be in prison.”
I don’t think I’m the same man after this visit. I still have my flaws (which I work on daily). I still have my dreams (which I advance constantly).
But something within me has shifted after this ever so special visit.
Through patient introspection and written meditation, I’ll discover what it is (sooner or later). All I know is that I’ve never been so dedicated to being an instrument of service to as many people as possible (in a world that deeply needs us all to be people of integrity, bravery, humanity and hope).
The big opportunity for you now:
If you are really ready to make today the first day of your greatest life and begin to live in a way that very few people ever do, I’d love to help you get there…
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Hope this helps. Believe in your greatness. I’m always here to help.
With love and respect,
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All green lights. Go for great. Bye :)