“When a man has done what he considers to be his duty to his people and his country, he can rest in peace.” Nelson Mandela (interview, 1994).
Last Saturday I was sitting at a cafe eating a sandwich when I looked at my phone and saw that Paul Walker had died. If you don’t know who he is, he was an actor, most famous for a role in a movie series called The Fast and The Furious. Ordinarily this does not mean much as people die every day but when actors pass away it impacts a greater amount of people because of the way their roles in movies have affected everyone watching them. Growing up I watched every single FF movie made (like most of us), so it was surprising to find out a character had died in real life, particularly at a young age. It made me think about how short and unpredictable life can be and how important it is to try to enjoy the time that we have.
Last night one of the greatest men alive passed away. If you do not know much about Nelson Mandela, I would highly encourage you to spend some time learning about his life. Most of us know about his struggle to overcome apartheid in South Africa and the 27 years he spent in prison, but what he is most admired for is how he conducted himself as a person and a leader. The key point is that he was a simple man who saw things that he believed were wrong and spent a lifetime trying to make them right. He saw inequality and worked for justice the best way he knew how, and by doing so, became a legend. One thing that we can all agree on is that he had an amazing life and influenced millions. A legacy like his is hard to imagine, but it should motivate us to think about how we would want to be remembered.
So how can you live a life worth living, simple, by inspiring others. Take the time out of your schedule to participate and get involved in your neighborhood or community. In previous generations many people used to be part of clubs and lodges (Kiwanis, Shriners, etc.) that would socialize and volunteer together, now we don’t really do so much. Find a cause that motivates you. Find an organization where you feel comfortable and get involved, if you can’t find one, then start one. Feel like working out? Instead of heading to the gym, volunteer as a youth coach in your favorite sport at your local park. Engaging with others in small ways can lead to creating an impact everywhere you go. And don’t kid yourself, while you believe that you are helping others, you are in fact helping yourself. Countless studies have shown improvements in intelligence, professional contacts, well-being, personality, relationships, etc., in individuals who do such things. So what are you waiting for, get inspired and start becoming the type of person that you have always wanted to be.