NELSON MANDELA: THE GAIN AND CURSE OF GENIUS

“During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.” Nelson Mandela in his speech; ` I am willing to die’.
A lot of information, accolades and out right ignorant comments have been about the man Nelson Mandela since his passing last week. Without going into everything that I have heard or read, something stood out for me, and it is the fact that when a man leaves a legacy it cannot be doubted irrespective of what part of the world he came from or what he did for a living.
This is characterised by how people from all walks of life, races and creed have all agreed that Nelson Mandela lived a great life, not by what he amassed for himself but by what he gave to his people and to the world in general.
This makes me wonder; obviously we all do know what it is to live a full life and leave a legacy! Seeing we all do apparently, why don’t we even try then? It seems to me that we all know what is right, are somehow finding it difficult to do but are quick to applaud anyone who does.
I have heard it said that Mr Mandela was a genius of sorts and that not everyone can do and achieve what he did. While I agree that not everyone can do what he did; seeing not many of us are, it is my humble submission that the reason that is so isn’t because the majority of us are born with no genius; it is because most of us are unwilling to pay the price of genius!
Yes, there are those exceptions to the rule when some people’s IQ is so much higher than that of others, but I refuse to believe that what Mr Mandela achieved had anything to do with his IQ.
So what am I saying? I am saying that genius is not necessarily born; genius is made. Every one of us has a dose or measure of genius in us and if we will knuckle down and pay the requisite sacrifice; we all can one day put our genius on display.
Whatever, dream is in your heart it is the seed of your genius, what is required is that we need to work it. We all celebrate Mr Mandela today for his genius, and while we may not be able to fight apartheid like he did, there is certainly something we have been called to do that we can do. Maybe the entire world may not know or find out about out genius but some piece of the earth ought to know.
So what is it we can learn from the life of Mr Nelson Mandela then?
1. Your background has nothing to do with what you are called to deliver.
2. Genius is not about a lot of things; just find the one thing and stick with it.
3. Be sure you understand the terrain and subject matter of your genius. (Mr Mandela certainly knew his onions).
4. Genius is only genius if others can benefit from it.
5. No one can achieve genius alone. Who are you collaborating with?
6. No matter how long it takes if you keep at it and do not change your mind, you will reach your goal.
7. Genius is a lonely road to travel filled with challenges but in the end it will be worth it.
8. Count the cost, please do count the cost.
I can go on, but let me stop here and round off today’s post by telling you about the other side of genius. The sacrifice that is required. Mr Mandela made quite some sacrifice there; you know. While everyone is counting the years he spent in prison, who can quantify the toll it had on his family?
How many of us remember he was married three times? Something had to be responsible, can you tell what? What about his children? What does it take to raise a child from prison? Who can tell me?
My point is genius is a blessing to many, genius lies within us all and can be achieved. However, genius also has a curse; it cost something and sometimes there are casualties of genius. Today the whole world stops to honour Mandela and today we all wish we were Mandela. The truth is we all can be a Mandela right where we are, but honestly are we willing to bear the cost of genius?
No matter what level of genius you are called to, it is my confidence that you will make it NeverTheLess.
Here is to your success!
Bidemi

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