Nelson Mandela has, in the course of his extraordinary life, said many wise things. This morning I was thinking about one in particular:
‘There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living’ Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.
Given that this blog is (mostly!) about stories, writing and books I was thinking about this in relation to writing. Writing, whether creatively in fiction or non-fiction, is self directed. You have to find the time and the space to do it, no one else can do that for you. It is from you, you yourself have to extract it from your head and put it down. If you are writing, whether for a living or for pleasure, you owe it to yourself to be the very best you can, to ignore your own excuses as to why you haven’t finished or why it is not as good as you would like it to be. It is in your hands.
I have been lucky in that I am in a position where I have the time and space to do this – it is an absolute privilege and I treasure it. But I know I could do more. Time passes quickly and as a writer you need to be able to ask yourself at the end of each day, ‘what have I written? and is it good?’ If the answer is ‘nothing’ then you are failing yourself. There are days when my answer is ‘nothing’ and it should not be so.
There is more though to what he said – because to be the best we can means being the best we can not only for ourselves but for others. He has lived that to the full. He has, at every turn, done the right thing for others. He continues to do that. South Africa and the world have been made richer by his life and it is why he remains beloved by so many. He is a one off. Just one look at that smile will tell you that!