Sunday, July 1, 2012

It always seems impossible until it's done

Earlier today, I got reminded of one of my favorite quotes, by Nelson Mandela:

"it always seems impossible until it's done." 

I have liked it for a while, and always thought it was exactly what folks need when things were tough.

However, thinking about the context of the quote, things are a little different. Let's do a bit of history. Mandela was no ordinary man. He was a lawyer who set up shop to provide free or low-cost counsel to many of his fellow South Africans who lacked attorney representation. When he was arrested in 1961, he has already been fighting apartheid for nearly 15 years. And he would spend 27 years in prison to this end, 18 of which was on a small island called Robben.

Of course he would say everything is possible.

He was a guy completely committed to his cause. He laid it out on his closing arguments for his trial: 

"During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to the struggle of the African people. 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 needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die." 

He was sentenced to life in prison.

Yes, maybe it always seems impossible until it is done. But that seems to depend on how committed you are to the cause.