By: Peter J. Lamont, Esq.
New Jersey Business and Personal Law Attorney
Law Offices of Peter J. Lamont
A number of articles have appeared over the past week regarding the application of the meaning of Mandela's life to a diverse range of topics - from everyday life to web marketing.
The lessons to be applied in our everyday life are fairly intuitive. Today let's turn our attention to the business world and the lessons entrepreneurs of all stripes can learn.
First, the man was determined - seemingly, whatever obstacle was placed in his path, he went on undeterred. Perseverance is a trait that a business owner can take away from his experience. How many times are we told, "You're deluded, that will never work, give it up!" - advice I am sure Mandela heard far too often in his fabled life. And just as he soldiered on, so should you if you believe in what you are doing. He and the African National Congress were rewarded for their struggles with an all but bankrupt economy, ultimately managing to turn it around. I am guessing it would have been easy, and forgivable, to give it all up when faced with these odds. However, taking the easy way out was not an option.
By all accounts, Mandela treated everyone who crossed his path the same - from princes to paupers - all were treated as allies. A good way to live whether or not you are in business. The deferential treatment of others should not be in your repertoire nor should any semblance of animosity.
Self sacrifice for the greater good - fairly obvious in Mandela's life - but what of you, as a businessperson? Mandela spent almost three decades in prison for what he believed in - could you even come close to that level of sacrifice in pursuit of your dream?
When dealing with people holding clearly divergent goals from his own - he worked with them - making them partners. Too often our vision becomes clouded with resentment when we are doing business with such people - and the gap widens. As Mandela did - we should find some common ground and build from there - it matters little if we are talking about a co-worker, staff or the competition - the principle is the same.
Forgive, as Mandela did, the slights of others. He managed to forgive those who had mistreated him and his followers, sentencing him to prison for his peaceful efforts. There is nothing to be gained by resenting those who "do you dirt", it just occupies your mind, crippling you for other, more profitable and rewarding tasks.
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