Before You Complain, think about Chadwick Boseman and Nelson Mandela! A few weeks ago, I woke up with a heavy heart after Chadwick’s passing. I thought about his perseverance through making meaningful movies in between surgeries and chemotherapies. Not only did he star in one of my favorite movies, Black Panther, but he served his community, giving back to those in need, volunteering his time at hospitals and helping kids who were suffering from cancer. He accomplished all these things without announcing to the world that he was suffering from a serious disease, colon cancer. He did not even tell the kids he was helping that he himself was also suffering from cancer. I have witnessed friends and family who have suffered from cancer. Cancer is a horrible disease, it takes over your body, energy, and immune system. It invades key organs like the intestines, lungs, brain, liver, and kidneys and interferes with body functions that are necessary to live normally.
This super hero-Chadwick lived as though everything was okay. I call him a super hero because it’s hard to comprehend how much strength it must have taken for Chadwick to do his most physically demanding projects, such as hospital visits, volunteering, or superhero stunts in Black Panther, while undergoing cancer treatments. He ignored his pain and pushed to be the best version of himself-to empty his tank on earth.
His suffering in silence got me thinking, “Why would he not want to share with the world that he was suffering?” Maybe he didn’t want us to feel sorry for him, or he didn’t want to lose his career because of stigma. Maybe he realized that some people had bigger problems than his own. Maybe he took Lou Holtz quote seriously- “Never tell your problems to anyone…20% don’t care and the other 80% are glad you have them.” Whatever reasons he used to justify his decision; he was a brave man. From this man, I have learned to squeeze everything I have out to the world before I leave this earth. Although he died young at 43 years old, Chadwick gave us everything he had. In my eyes, he lived longer than a 100-year-old person who never took risks or didn’t step out of their comfort zone in life. I will remember Chadwick by watching movies he made while fighting cancer, such as Da 5 Bloods, 21 Bridges, Infinity War & Endgame, Black Panther and Marshall. Through these movies, we can see his hard work, perseverance, and fighting spirit.
Now when we look at Nelson Mandela, we see a man who only wanted equality for all humans in South Africa. At the time, South Africa was colonized by Great Britain, and it was undergoing massive racial discrimination against non-Whites, the Apartheid.
He protested nonviolently against the South African government and its racist policies, and he was greatly punished for it. He was imprisoned for 27 years with hard labor in an African prison. While in prison, he was mistreated, tortured, beaten, taunted, and worked for free. Despite the punishment he was given by the whites for his attempt to do the right thing, Nelson Mandela never complained or reciprocated that punishment when he finally became the first democratically elected black president in South Africa in 1994. In fact, he forgave all the people who threw him in prison. He believed in unity, and sympathy, not in division and violence. When I think about true leadership, I think about Nelson Mandela. He lived his life to bring peace to the world. To leave the world a better place than he found it. That is something I believe we should all aspire to do today. What legacy are you leaving behind? What will people remember about you when you leave?
PS: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.”-Plato