One of the things I learned when I was negotiating was that until I changed myself, I could not change others .~ Nelson Mandela

Revolution is the evolution of humans into a higher humanity. ~ Grace Lee Boggs

Those of you who know me or have been reading PGG for a while are aware that my passion and mission in life has always been to contribute to world peace, mostly through my work best expressed in my mantra that personal transformation is the key to social transformation.

So it should come as no surprise that I profoundly relate to and revere the lives of these two nonagenarians, Nelson Mandela who died last week at age 95, and the 98-year-old* activist and author Grace Lee Boggs. They literally embody this philosophy in every cell of their beings; they have demonstrated it externally with their activism and sacrifice for racial equality and social justice, and internally by the wisdom they have gained and generously share from nearly a century of experience, observation, and, most importantly, reflection.

Both started out as “radicals”, and were branded as terrorists with the requisite FBI/CIA files (Mandela was even on the US terrorism watch list until 2008!) because they initially saw the only way to overthrow the entrenched power structure was by employing the more literal and sometimes violent tactics of revolution through organized movements and a spirit of rebellion. But through trial and error, incarceration, and maturity, they eventually evolved; they gave themselves permission to change their minds, learn and grow in light of new information, experimentation and once again, reflection – ultimately coming to the conclusion that in order to change the world, they would have to change themselves.

They came to understand that indeed humanity is made up of humans and that humans were going to have to deal with other humans in order to get anything done. So we’d better be the best we can be as individuals and try to get along and get past our differences and disagreements, because the reality is that we must co-exist harmoniously – whether in a racially divided African country, a rundown bankrupt American city, or in your very own household.

We are living in extraordinary times, and it is no accident that you are who you are at this moment in history.

What does your humanity mean to you?  As our world continues to go through turbulent changes and upheavals, it will be up to us individually and collectively to do our part to “tear down” where necessary and rebuild a more enlightened society that reflects our evolved humanity.  But we have to start with ourselves and do what we can in our immediate environments to demonstrate our own revolution – which, by the way, does not happen overnight or with a magic pill, silver bullet, or special app.

Only through keen observation, deep reflection, and inner and outer sweating effort and energy over a long period of time directed towards improving ourselves and serving others that true transformation can take place. Then, if we’re lucky, by the time we reach our 90’s we can look back and see how our journey has positively and productively unfolded in both a personal and political way, and be proud of what we accomplished and the legacy we will leave behind.

Wondering how it will all go down if you take up the cause? Give me a buzz and I will incite a riot in your heart to make the most of what you got, so at the end of the day you know it’s gonna be alright. 

(Today’s PGG was originally posted on December 11, 2013)

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This past June I had someone film parts of my New Attitude Summer School series, which resulted in this very-roughly-edited-not-the-best-quality video of uninterrupted remarks wrapping up the workshop “Lead Yourself to Success (in Work & Life!)

In this excerpt covering the final ten minutes, I summarize my thoughts about confidence, being a leader in your own life, maintaining your individuality and humanity in the times we live in, and why the world is relying on you to be successful.

Click here to watch video

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If you like what I write, you’ll love what I have to say in person!   Click on above links for info about my coaching and speaking services and contact me today. 

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Read more about me and my work in these past PGG’s:

All Roads, Same Place | And Now, A Word from Our Sponsor | Strong Medicine | 10,000 Hours | A Decade of Doing What I Do | Express Yourself 

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