“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” – Nelson Mandela
When Nelson Mandela appeared on Oprah, he sat down and asked her a question that had everyone in the studio laughing:
“What will the show be about, today?”
But when she replied:
“The show is about you!”
He seemed genuinely surprised.
Turns out, he wasn’t joking.
It honestly hadn’t occurred to him that he should be the focus of so much attention.
That’s some next-level humility.
But it’s also an interesting perspective on what we called “Stage 3” in our 9th Law session…
…When your life purpose expands far beyond you, and becomes a global mission that you would gladly surrender your life for.
Mandela spent 27 years — over a quarter of of his life — locked in prison for resisting Apartheid.
And when he was finally released, he jumped right back into the fight.
Fearlessly, selflessly, and without hesitation:
Because the mission was simply more important to him than his life.
If there’s a higher game humans can play, I can’t imagine what it is.
(even Stage 4 is no replacement for what happens in Stage 3)
And while many try to play this game — picking a problem out of thin air and trying to solve it — very few understand what a true mission is, and probably wouldn’t want one if they did.
Because a true mission is not a problem you solve, it is the reason you exist.
It is a spiritual imperative, a directive that takes over your being the same way a man on fire moves towards an extinguisher.
It’s a radical, terrifying, and all-consuming quest.
One that doesn’t require you to “give your best,” but to give everything.
And if everything you have isn’t enough, it requires you to transform into the person who can give the mission what it needs.
A true, Stage 3, global-mission-level life purpose simply isn’t about you.
It’s not about your happiness, your desires, or your comfort.
It’s about the mission.
I imagine that’s why Mandela never thought to talk about himself, on Oprah — because his life wasn’t even about him.
Anyway, I certainly haven’t made it to this level.
And honestly, the thought of it still scares me a little bit.
But I also can’t imagine a higher honor in human life.
So that’s what I felt like talking about today 🙂
I hope it sparked some new insight for you.