Lessons Learned From a Noble World Leader


Photo taken by the author; Bow River along Edworthy Park, Calgary

“We can’t underestimate the value of silence. We need to create ourselves, need to spend time alone. If you don’t, you risk not knowing yourself and not realizing your dreams.”


The world needs more thinkers – men and women who take the time to think carefully, deliberately, and critically.

The world needs fewer people who just blurt out the first thing that pops into their frontal lobe.

This practice and art greatly aids in making sound decisions, both personally and professionally.

Therefore, it benefits greatly the people for whom a particular decision impacts – all because someone took the time to think.

It has been stated that our best thinking takes place when we are alone.

Where we are free from distractions and ambiguous noise & left alone to contemplate and where there is space for the creative juices to flow.

Nelson Mandela knew the value of this practice.

In his autobiography, “Long Walk to Freedom”, he writes: “Although I am a gregarious person, I love solitude even more.” (1)

In remembering Mandela, he was a man of strong passion and deep convictions.

He suffered and endured nearly three decades of unjust punishment on a remote island in the South Atlantic Ocean.

Yet, he exited from this long trial more victorious than when he entered, and would go on to lead his nation of South Africa through active, quiet leadership.

If a world leader, as great as Mandela was, understood this way of life – so also should we.

What Susan Cain is suggesting is we find our niche – our sweet spot, that place where we shine, where our glory is found in, and most importantly, where we find our deepest and truest fulfillment.

The kind where we are fulfilled and satisfied – the reason for which we were made for.

To understand further, we know that the God of the Bible “shows no partiality.” (2)

What this means is each person in unique & has been given a unique gift to be uniquely expressed in this very unique world.

Like Red from “Seabiscuit”, you too have a gift.

Knowing this, we have now entered this process of discovery in finding out what that gift is, and how we can best use that gift in our world.

In terms of time, a very rare number of people discover their gift early on in life; while, for the vast majority of us, it takes a lot longer to find out what our true area of greatness is.

Even so, as Cain asserts, “[t]he secret of life is to put yourself in the right lighting. For some it’s a Broadway spotlight; for others, a lamplit desk…Figure out what you are meant to contribute to the world and make sure you contribute it.” (3)

So, what is your lighting?

Find out where you shine and live out of that.

Still not sure what to make of introverts?

Follow Cain’s advice: “Make the most of introverts’ strengths – these are the people who can help you think deeply, strategize, solve complex problems, and spot canaries in your coal mine.” (4)

After all, there’s a reason why introverts make the best CEO’s in the world, and not extroverts.


(1) Nelson Mandela, Long Walk To Freedom (New York: Back Bay Books, 1995), 40.

(2) Romans 2:11 ESV

(3) Susan Cain, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking (New York: Crown Publishing Group, 2012), 264.

(4) Cain, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, 265.


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