On Robben Island near Cape Town, one man passed 27 New Years. Despite the harsh circumstances at the prison, he had the mental strength to behave with dignity and “showed how one can turn the tables even in the direst of circumstances.”
1. Learned a new language
2. Woke up an hour earlier than necessary to exercise every day in his cell
3. Opened an informal school to increase literacy
4. Helped his jailers with free legal advice
5. Focused on the long game by keeping contact with the outside world through letters
This man, Nelson Mandela, throughout his prison years and afterward, maintained an assertion that "to get along in life one should see the good in all people."
This mindset helped him transform the direst circumstances into an opportunity for learning, giving, and eventually, liberation.
💡 Fast forward to 2023, upon reflecting on Mandela's grace and wisdom in the context of the unexpected events that occur with increasing frequency to all 8 billion of us, my phrase for this new year is from the Chinese language: 見怪不怪 - “to keep one’s calm in the face of the unexpected” - which is a shortened version of 見怪不怪，其怪自敗: “Face the fearful with no fears, and its fearfulness disappears.”
Beginning our new year, I invite you to balance your goals & plans (which are categorized as ‘yang’ activities) with the mental 'long game' (categorized as ‘yin’):
💫 face your fears with dignity and calm
✨ help others regardless of your own circumstances
🌟 see the good in others
⭐ find joy in both pleasant and adverse situations
❓ What would you add to this list? I'd love to hear from you. 😊