I just read a news item of a small matter that has become such a big matter in South Africa. Its not completely unexpected – this is Nelson Mandela’s statue we are talking about. Here is the story – the sculptors who did the 9 metre Mandela statue wanted to put their trademark rabbit on the statue. They decided the best place to do it would be in Nelson Mandela’s ear  – how dare you!

The little rabbit is barely noticeable to the naked eye – but some prying long lens camera or binoculars picked it up. Then all hell broke loose. This small rabbit cannot stain the big person of Mandela. The little rabbit must go! The little rabbit probably costs less than USD1 compared to the almost USD1 million dollars cost of the statue.

Just a few thoughts ran through my mind and as usual I thought of some lessons:

  1. The small things in life have the potential to damage big things
  2. Little harmless actions can have serious unintended consequences – imagine a little trademark rabbit has become a sign of big disrespect!
  3. Always check the small stuff – ‘the rabbit is in the detail’

Nelson Mandela, the former South Africa


“Trevor when you packed my things where did you put my weights?” These were the words which Nelson Mandela asked Trevor Manuel (ex South African Finance Minister), a day after he had been released from jail after 27 years. ‘Your weights?’ Trevor asked. ‘Yes, my weights. I gym every morning, I need my weights!’ Mandela responded matter-of-factly. This was in a telephone call at 500am in the morning! It sounds rather surprising for someone who had spend 27 years in jail to worry about weights just a day after tasting freedom. However this was the hallmark of Nelson Mandela – consistency. He has led a life of consistency whether in speech or in action. So consistent was this democracy icon that 26 years after his Rivonia Trial (in 1964) speech he used exactly the same words to end his Freedom speech (in 1990) as follows:

‘I have fought against white domination and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if need be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die ‘ – Nelson Mandela in 1964 and 1990

Without doubt, the force of consistency has helped Mandela realize his ideals during his lifetime. This is a lesson to every one of us that if we cultivate consistency we will enjoy the fruits of our ideals, dreams and aspirations. Reflect on this:

1. Consistency is the ability to maintain a particular standard or repeat a particular task with no variation.
2. Consistency produces specific desired patterns of behaviour, intended habits and the attitudes that lead to achievement of your dreams.
3. Consistency is the force that will bring energy to stuttering goals and receding dreams.


Crossover Stage – ‘Go Over’

In previous articles we looked at the Passover Stage and the Makeover Stages of transformation. Today lets talk about the Crossover Stage.

Can you imagine if billionaire Richard Branson of Virgin Group would keep saying ‘I had acute dyslexia when I was a kid’, or if Nelson Mandela would always talk about spending 27 years in jail? They would never have moved on in life. In order to crossover you need to forget what lies behind and set your eyes on the future. Today I would like to share a few lessons on the instructions which were given to Joshua to crossover and takeover Canaan. The Israelites had been in the wilderness of confusion, drought and lack of progress.

“Moses my servant is dead. Get going. Cross {over} this Jordan River…to the country I am giving to my people” : Wipe them tears Brother Joshua, life goes on! Watch carefully the kind of language and words used here:

Forget The Past – “Moses my servant is dead”

In other words, forget about the past, do not pity party about how things were bad in your social, financial, economic or political wilderness. If you hold on to the past, you will have no hands to grab the future. You might have had it rough and tough in the wilderness – no electricity, no good schools, no running water, no jobs, no fancy food, no fancy clothes. You have passed over that now. Your wilderness experience might be a bitter divorce, retrenchment, rejection, betrayal, bad deal, broken promises, financial loss, grief, past successes, trophies or victories – so what? It is all in the past – IT’S DEAD!

Do not make a funeral of your past. It is instructive that there is no mention of Moses’ funeral – or mourning period. The living have no business with the dead! Point at your ‘wilderness’ and say “Thank you but no thanks, never again, I am crossing over”

Keep Moving – “Get Going. Cross over”

A man who is released from prison does not hang around the prison gate – he moves away quickly to enjoy freedom. Joshua is told clearly ‘get going’. There is kinaesthetic feel about these words – there is bodily movement and muscle engagement. In simple terms there is ACTION.  What is it that you have always wanted to do? Start today. The crossover transition is a game of faith. In the wilderness you deal with the familiar – in the crossover you deal with ‘unknowns’. You may not even know what awaits you on the other side – just do it! Let’s get practical about things now – write that application, register for that course, publish the book, start that project, get your visa, make that important phone call, send that vital email, set that key appointment or make that crucial visit.

Without crossing over you cannot takeover. When you crossover you need a specific toolset and unique set of skills to deal with uncertainty and the unfamiliar. I will share those in the next instalment in this series in the next article on Takeover. For today get going. Just do it. Keep walking until you crossover for your takeover…

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