Nelson Mandela

Alive With Possibilities

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Nelson Mandela, 2000
It always seems impossible until its done. (Nelson Mandela)

I met with my friend Janine this morning by chance while she was in the neighbourhood with her mother, and we stopped to talk over a coffee. Her mother, Ruby, is an impressive lady – gracious, good humoured, encouraging, full of life, and passionate.

I had heard previously about her mother’s life in South Africa – an heroic journey! Over coffee, Ruby gave her perspective on possibilities. She mentioned a recent South African tourism campaign called “Alive With Possibilities“. The video is inspiring, and worth watching below (2:02 minutes).

Actually there are two, and the second one shows the diversity to be found in South Africa, let alone across Africa itself as a continent. (a little longer at 5:53 minutes)

Ok, nice videos, but so what?” you might ask. Why is this relevant to reducing child mortality?

The story of transformation within South Africa is nothing short of inspirational and needs little clarification. Certainly, the journey is not complete, and there is still a lot of progress to be achieved. There is a lot to celebrate all the same.

The same, too, I hope can be said for child mortality in 2015. The problems in sub-Saharan Africa presently are overwhelming. Insurmountable? “An incomplete journey, but much to celebrate“. Time will tell. Our involvement will ultimately determine how this narrative plays out.

Ruby went on to say how South Africa changed the tag-line from “Alive With Possibility” to “It’s Possible!“. Just a few words, but the meaning is completely different. This is the message we should take away for child mortality. It is more than identifying what is possible, but declaring and then working to achieve the possible itself.

During the 10 City Bridge Run, I am asking a question about reducing child mortality: “Is the seemingly impossible possible?” Please join us on this journey.

Maybe Nelson Mandela responded best by saying:

It always seems impossible until its done. (Nelson Mandela)

All I need to do is to believe. (Bishop Desmond Tutu)


Squaring the Circle

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Some apparent partial solutions gave false hop...
False hope or inspiration?

Squaring the Circle‘ describes trying to achieve the impossible. The expression is sometimes used as a metaphor for doing something logically or intuitively impossible.

It is essentially a mathematical problem, and until 1882 it was thought that somehow it might be possible with the use of optical illusions through geometry. But in 1882, properties of ∏ (pi) proved that it could not be achieved.

Sometimes we really want something to be possible, despite the evidence we are presented with. People will tell you: “Just accept it; it can’t be done. It is impossible.

Some people see the world differently. People like Nelson Mandela who said:

It always seems impossible until its done.

Bridge builders share a spirit of what might be possible. It is an act of faith, of believing in the possibility of what you are doing. A belief that our actions actually matter and can make a difference. A vision of what can be rather than what is.

All successful human endeavors – from breakthrough interventions like the telephone to great social leaps forward like the civil rights movement – begin with the assumption that change is possible. (Quote from ‘City Year’)

I had intended to commence the 10 City Bridge Run on 24 September, and subsequently delayed numerous times for a range of reasons, initially due to funding available. I had planned to be in Seoul right now at the conclusion of the 10 City Bridge run, but instead am still in Sydney.

So what happened? I ended up injuring myself through overtraining. I reached a point where I literally could not run. That was disappointing. I followed the advice of good friends and rested, and over the past month since I last blogged I have been stretching, resting, swimming and cross training using high-cardio interval training with weights in the gym. I expect I will be starting to run again in early January.

We have all encountered failure at some point. What is important is to pick yourself up and push on. To learn from the experience, and try again. Trying something different to see how it might work out successfully.

I reviewed what I had been planning, from the training routine through to what it was I thought could be achieved. The 10 City Bridge Run is tightly focused around child mortality as a lever to help unravel extreme poverty. Please take some time to look at the website and see how it has changed. If it is unclear in any area, let me know.

So, can we ‘square the circle’? Maybe not as an exercise in geometry.

But the 10 City Bridge Run will proceed commencing on 1 March 2011. Please join me on the global design challenge. I need your help. Together, we can achieve the impossible.

Fall down seven times, stand up eight.