Nelson Mandela's Speech

Recently(*2010,April) I have come across many blogs introducing the inaugural speech by Nelson Mandela because of the movie "Invictus". The speech I’m referring to is the one about “our greatest fear”. Many people believe that Mandela said this in May 1984, and it has been shared over and over on blogs and in newsletters, as being said by him.

The quote starts as follows;

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?

It is a very wonderful speech, and everyone was so inspired by it. However, after reading it over and over I had a strange feeling. I had recently read the original book, Invictus, that later became the movie about Mandela. The author said that people were not impressed by the May 1984 speech by Mandela. The author never introduced this famous speech by Mandela in the book. I was confused. Why would people not be impressed by such a powerful speech? And why did the author not introduce the speech in Invictus? I decided to use Google to see if I could find out why the author of Invictus had thought that people were not impressed with the president’s inaugural speech.

Soon, I found the original speech by Mandela, and it was completely different to the quote that many people now attribute to Mandela. Some bloggers introduced this “deepest fear” quote as being by Mandela, however other bloggers introduced a completely different quote. I didn’t know what was going on… so my English coach and I searched more on the internet and found a very interesting story.

Nelson Mandela’s official website also said that the “deepest fear” quote doesn’t belong to Mandela.

Here is what it says on his website:

‘Deepest fear’ quote not Mr Mandela’s

Mr Nelson Mandela is an often quoted individual; his inspirational words are
often referred to in numerous publications, television and radio broadcasts,
and online. However, a quote commonly attributed to Mr Mandela was in fact
never uttered by him.”


On the website, they said that Nelson Mandela never said this during his inaugural speech as president nor on any other occasion! We were so surprised to find this out. In spite of the fact that Nelson Mandela did not say this, many people around the world believe that it was said by him.

We continued searching and found the origin of the quote. In fact, it comes from a book, A Course in Miracles, written by Marianne Williamson. Perhaps many people misunderstood and thought that this quote had come from Mandela because her words were so deep and full of love that it seemed like something that Mandela would say, and now thanks to the Internet, although it is not true, it is now almost like common knowledge all of the world that the quote is by Mandela.


By the way, do you know "Prayer of St. Francis”?

“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy."

Many people know this prayer, however it is in fact not originally by St. Francis of Assisi, yet many people believe that it is. The prayer is now commonly known as the Prayer of St. Francis although he never said this prayer nor was it a prayer that people used to pray for him.


I guess the same thing happened to the quote about "our deepest fear”.

I imagine this quote does reflect Mandela’s life and thoughts, and his spirit, and so that is why people easily believed that this quote was by him. Thus, eventually people all around the world have been so impressed and inspired by this quote, all the while believing it to be the words of Mr. Mandela.

Even though Marianne Williamson has said that this quote is from her book, I guess this fact might slip our mind soon, and so many people will go on believing that the quote is by Mandela.

The Paradoxical Commandments became famous as a quote by Mother Teresa. However, this too, originally came from someone else. It was originally from a Harvard University student Kent M. Keith, who was just 19 years old.



The Deepest Fear by Marianne Williamson, the Prayer of St. Francis and The Paradoxical Commandments were written by someone’s mind, brain and their hands. However, I think that all words that touch our soul deeply actually come from God. One day, one moment, someone was able to access the universe and God’s consciousness. And they could translate his words for us, so that we too could understand his words and use them to make our lives better.

I heard that Mozart said that his work as a composer was actually easy because all he was doing was making a score of the music that he could hear playing in space. I think this is the same as what is happening with these quotes… they were written in a similar way to the way Mozart wrote his music.

So I think it is ridiculous to say that the Deepest Fear quote did not came from Mandela, but from other person in particular.

The more important thing is that we are all living true to these words, and if we are doing so then it is even possible for another person to think that we were the person who originally said those words.

When other people speak negatively about others, what happens? Do their close friends and family deny that or say that it is not true? Or do they agree it easily? I want to be the sort of people who is defended by others, the sort of person that others will say, “No, that’s not true, she is not that kind of person” if someone else speaks negatively about me.

Sometimes when we hear rumors about ourselves, we are angry because we didn’t say or do such bad things. However, it might be a message to us, that others believe that is how we are living, and so it is a chance for us to change.

In conclusion, I’d like to leave you with the complete quote of the Deepest Fear written by Marianne Williamson. This is a wonderful message that we should read again and again.



Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world.
There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel
insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It's not just in some of us, it's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people
permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates
others.

by Marianne Williamson


Original Japanese blog

by legacyofcayce | 2013-07-16 09:43 | Mail Magazin BackNo.