I have just watched an inspiring film. A film that I know will be incredibly inspiring and motivating on many levels to all those who are fortunate enough to watch it.
Invictus, the film based on Nelson Mandela’s life during the 1995 Rugby World Cup held in South Africa, provides inspiration and motivation to us whether we are sporting fans, human rights advocates, observers of human behaviour or, at this point in time, feeling that we cannot cope with what life has thrown at us. Invictus means ‘unconquered’ – strength in the face of adversity.
Nelson Mandela’s life story is well known to all of us. Remember that after 27 years of imprisonment, despite incredibly harsh conditions, he emerged from prison supporting reconciliation and negotiation not revenge, upon those who incarcerated him. His relentless work to bring the people of South Africa together as one is testimonial to this amazing man’s understanding of human behaviour and to his incredible power of forgiveness and acceptance which enabled such a huge change to what appeared to so many to be hopeless.
Nelson Mandela’s relentless dedication to change to bring understanding and human rights to his country despite opposition is summed up in his quote,
“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but rising every time we fall.”
I could discuss the incredible sporting scenes in this film, the excitement of watching the recreation of the 1995 Rugby World Cup matches, the brilliant performances of Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon and all the other actors in this film, however I will leave you with words from this poem that provided inspiration to Nelson Mandela himself while in prison, and I hope that it provides inspiration to you in times of adversity:
“Out of the night that covers me,
Black at the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.”
William Earnest Henley, 1849-1903