This past week the world lost one of its greatest individuals - Nelson Mandela. From around the world leaders are pouring out their sincere condolences and thoughts. On social media, there is a flow of individuals citing meaningful quotes from Mr. Mandela that touched them in some way.
His death marks the end of almost a century of a great life. There are few people who are in the right place and right time, that make such an impact with their thoughts and actions that their lives transcend that of most individuals, both famous and infamous.
There are many world leaders and historical warriors, leading scientific minds and philosophers, religious leaders and royalty that have made such impacts, that the world was forever different after them.
When looking at the greatness that the world just lost, others that come to mind in the same vein are Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Albert Einstein, and the Dalai Lama. This list is not limited to these few people, of course. But these individuals and others like them, when looking back at their lives moved people in a different way. Although I never had the opportunity to be in their presence, all accounts of people who did, mentioned a greatness of person that left others in awe.
It was a combination of actions, behavior and thoughts that made these ones different. Although the Washington’s and the Newton’s and the Mozart’s all live on for the changes they created in the world, it is different than the above list. There are others of course, but Mandela with the others listed above seemed different.
Their selflessness, their desire to help those they came in contact with, their great philosophic thoughts and words, moved people differently. By all accounts, regardless of political side, religious belief, or intellectual capacity, you would be hard pressed to find people that would not define these lives as special.
I have had a number of coaches, mentors, loved ones and friends who have touched my life. I have had the privilege of learning from many people. And amongst those, there are a few who are/were different; people who stood out in the crowd as special. Individuals, who extolled the same characteristics as the some of the great names, yet remain in the shadows, as they were not in the centre of world changing events and times.
Life passes for us all. It is short and, the ninety-five years of Nelson Mandela's life have come and gone in a heartbeat. The world is, and will always remember his life, his deeds, and the person who he was. It is a time for all of us to pay our respects to him.
But, let it also be a time for us to remember those who like Mr. Mandela, are special, those who stand out from the others. To reach out to them and let them know they made a difference.