My cousin, Chinue, recently returned from South Africa. She’d been before, but this was her first trip back in 10 years. Given her enthusiasm for the country, I’m convinced she secretly wants to live there (or at least have a vacation spot). While pictures from her trip included the obligatory sunrise-on-the-beach shots they also included the above. This is a picture Chinue took while visiting Mandela’s home. The plaque features an excerpt from a letter Mandela sent to his wife while he was in prison:
“In judging our progress as individuals, we tend to concentrate on external factors such as one’s social position, influence and popularity, wealth and standard of education… but internal factors may be even more crucial in assessing one’s development as a human being: humility, purity, generosity, absence of vanity, readiness to serve your fellow men — qualities within the reach of every human soul.”
It seems easy enough to lose track of what Mandela calls “internal factors” in pursuit of certain “external factors.” Mandela’s words serve as a wonderful reminder to maintain balance, and never forget what’s truly important as we each continue along our path to creating our best selves and best lives.