A Bit of Inspiration: Invictus, Mandela, the Springboks and Eastwood

At times of great challenge, perhaps, the most important thing we can avail ourselves of is inspiration. This inspiration could come from a historic figure. It could come from somebody we know. It could come from someone famous. It could come from someone who is relatively unknown. It could come from a painting, a song or something written. Inspiration is a key ingredient in surmounting some of life’s greatest obstacles. And it can be drawn from a myriad of sources.

Inspiration works as a victorious cycle. A person can inspire us. We can then go out and surmount a set of challenges. Someone else can draw inspiration from our ability to meet those challenges. And so it goes. Inspiration can cause a positive chain reaction of hope and achievement.

The other evening, I had the opportunity to see Clint Eastwood’s brilliant, and I feel underrated, Invictus. I originally saw the film in the theater. Watching it a second time, it reminded me yet again of the importance of inspiration.

Invictus tells the story of Nelson Mandela, the then President of South Africa, attempting to bring healing and unity to his country by supporting that nation’s rugby team, the Springboks, in their effort to win the 1995 Rugby World Cup. The movie is based on John Carlin’s book, Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Changed a Nation. The book tells the true story of how the Springboks went on to win the World Cup against the seemingly unbeatable team from New Zealand, The All Blacks. Most compellingly, South Africa hosted the Cup that year.

Clint Eastwood is a superb storyteller. As a director, he tells tales in an easy to follow fashion yet does it in a nuanced manner.

In this film, President Mandela – played by the great Morgan Freeman – reveals to the Springbok’s captain – played wonderfully well by Matt Damon – that in prison, which he was in for almost 30 years, he gained inspiration from the poem Invictus. Eventually, President Mandela gives a handwritten copy of that very same poem to the rugby player.

Mandela gained inspiration from a poem. Mandela inspired a nation and the world. He also inspired in a very direct way, the captain of the Springboks. The captain inspired his team. His team won, inspiring a nation. And so it goes, a positive chain created.

We human beings need to rise to meet challenges all the time. It is up to us to defeat despair and be powered by hope. Hope is born from inspiration!

Image: Tina Phillips / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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