Thomas Friedman, the author and New York Times columnist, wrote an article (with the same title) on leadership in the August 21, Sunday edition of the Times. He refers to Nelson Mandela’s leadership as portrayed by Morgan Freeman in the recent movie Invictus. When the black-led South African sports committee moved to change the famous (previously all white Springboks) rugby team’s name and colors, Mandela intervened. He called this selfish thinking and is quoted as saying: “We have to surprise them (the white community) with restraint and generosity.” While Freidman’s article refers to a larger political context, there is a lesson that applies to every day life for us….the surprise of generosity and abundant thinking.
When one thinks about the mental distance one has to travel from the greatness of Mandela to our everyday lives, it should be quite easy for us to surprise people with our daily generosity…right? So I challenge us to go to work this week and genuinely surprise someone with our generosity. Don’t expect anything in return. Why don’t you and I thoughtfully give, and let’s see what happens.