Thursday, February 11, 2010

Extraordinary People

Today marks the 20th Anniversary of the day Nelson Mandela was released from prison.

What is it that makes a person extraordinary? A dear friend and I were discussing this yesterday; whether it is the ability to push forward and be strong, or to remain steadfast and stoic when confronted with opposition. We didn't really make up our minds but concluded that to be extraordinary you must have faith in your beliefs. We weren't talking about religion, just a fundamental and fervent belief in what one deems to be true or what one stands for, to the point where no effort is too small in getting ones truth heard or belief understood. In order to achieve extraordinary things I think one must believe in herself when no one else will. Or perhaps a person can't be extraordinary on his own. Nelson Mandela said that he only achieved what he achieved because he always stood on the shoulders of giants that stood before him. Maybe part of what sets extraordinary people apart from everybody else is knowing when to stand alone and when to reach out for help.

On a day that celebrates the freedom of an extraordinary man, I suggest we think about what makes a man extraordinary and about the moments when we are extraordinary; for while there are few Mandelas, Luther Kings, and Picassos I think that we all at least have the ability to be extraordinary in us somewhere, and I know that there are moments when we step outside of our ordinary selves - even if only for a minute.

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