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Master or Slave: Which do you choose to be?

Things to Think About

By Pepper de Callier

Master or Slave: Which do you choose to be?

The wonderful poem, Invictus, by the British, Victorian-era poet, William Ernest Henley, is said to have been Nelson Mandela’s favorite poem, because it gave him strength during his 27 years in prison in apartheid South Africa. I share it with you today because of the special and powerful message it has for us all, especially today.  Invictus is the answer, in its purest form, to some of life’s most imponderable questions: “Who am I?”, “Who will I become?”, “Can I really be the person I want to be, even if I have failed time, and time, again?”, “How can I possibly handle all the adversity in my life?”, “Can I really change?”

Invictus tells us, in no uncertain terms, that it’s all up to us.  Yes, it’s true, we have control over very little in our lives, except for one thing: how we choose to react to our circumstances, whatever they may be. We are the masters of our fates.

Till next time…



Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

About the Author: Founder and Executive Director of Prague Leadership Institute, which was named “Best Corporate Leadership Coach Europe—2015”, by U.K. based Corporate Vision, Pepper de Callier, is one of the most respected senior executive coaches and authorities on leadership in Europe. Learn more about him at 

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