“Mandela’s life reminds me of the maxim that it matters not what happens to you, but only what you do with what happens to you; and that no matter how extenuating the circumstances, you still have the freedom to decide how to respond to adversity,” Sir Richard Branson commented on the passing of Nelson Mandela.
Although Mandela is no longer with us in the physical form, he serves to remind entrepreneurs about how they can enlighten their views for their business endeavours.
Below the founder of Virgin shares his ideas on how entrepreneurs can learn from Nelson Mandela’s life lessons:
Nelson Mandela was kept in a small cell for 9861.54 days where by day he smashed rocks, and interacted with fellow prisoners after sunset. Although he endured physical limitations and a lack of freedom, in his mind he was free to think and dream of change. During those days Mandela remained optimistic and he never lost hope that one day anentire nation will turn out for the better someday.
As an entrepreneur you may be facing many difficulties, especially if you are at the early stages of your business. Despite the unattractiveness of your challenges, always remember that they are temporary. Do not dwell on the negatives, but rather realise that you’re free and able to think positively and focus on executing your business for better days.
“I like friends who have independent minds because they tend to make you see problems from all angles.”
An important decision for all successful entrepreneurs is the company they choose to keep. If you spend your time around people who are negative, they can influence you in thinking that life is terrible and that your ideas have no chance of success. Positive and independently minded people can make you see things in a different, deeper and more objectively.
“Everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success if they are dedicated to and passionate about what they do.”
Regardless of your past obstacles or what you are currently facing, if you are determined and active about what you’re doing, you can achieve success.
Most successful entrepreneurs come from unfavourable backgrounds, and usually what distinguishes those that reach success when compared to the unsuccessful ones, is the level of dedication and passion towards their product and what it has to offer the world.
“Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.”
Being jealous of others’ accomplishments and successes will not help you. Instead, being envious will interfere with your cognitive processes and your ability to focus on what you want from your business and life. In the spirit of competition, you should get to know your competitors, their positioning, products, finances, etc. but you do not have to react to their every move. Rather, channel your energies on focusing on you and your journey.
“If I had my time over I would do the same again. So would any man who dares call himself a man.”
At the end your journey should be about the journey itself – a journey you are proud of – and not about the outcomes. Those whose long-term vision is driven by profit soon realise that financial gain isn’t everything.
Rather than worrying only about the amount of money you will make, focus on the bigger picture, and ask yourself, “Would I do and go through the same things over again, if I had the chance to?”
More importantly ask yourself, “What is my legacy?”