Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate…

‘Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond imagination. It is our light more than our darkness which scares us. We ask ourselves – who are we to be brilliant, beautiful, talented, and fabulous. But honestly, who are you to not be so?

You are a child of God, small games do not work in this world. For those around us to feel peace, it is not example to make ourselves small. We were born to express the glory of god that lives in us. It is not in some of us, it is in all of us. While we allow our light to shine, we unconsciously give permission for others to do the same. When we liberate ourselves from our own fears, simply our presence may liberate others.’

- Marianne Williamson in Return to Love: Reflections on a Course in Miracles

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188 thoughts on “Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate…

      • damn straight! she is the one who thought of it and he just mentioned that is was from the book, he has never used the actuall quote in any thing.

      • yes actually he did use it in his inaugural speech in 1994, and it is a quote by Marianne Williamson. I guess he kinda made it famous somewhat.

      • i think what is important however, is what it really means, and it does mean so much, in so many different ways.

  1. Thanks for clarifying this. Marianne should get the credit, she wrote it years before Nelson quoted her in his speech. He wouldn’t want to take the credit for something he didn’t write. But then we have to accept many famous men have staff to write their speeches so their words are not their own either.

    Maybe we have to look at their heart attitude and the evidence of their lives to see what kind of man they really are.

    Lynn
    Australia

  2. This is a beautiful quote and I hope everyone goes to see Aquila and the Bee to support our youth who are making a statement. It is indeed true you can be and do whatever you want to.

  3. I saw Akeela and the Bee last night. That sent me looking for the quote on the internet today. It’s a great movie for the whole family and really inspired my kids and I.

  4. I swa Akeela tonight. The quote is quoted twice in the movie, but not in this form. The movie leaves out the ‘child of God’ part, and some other changes. Leaves me wondering why they changed that and i wish i could see the movie version online so i could compare them side by side.

  5. I too saw the movie Akeela and the Bee and the quote sent me running to the internet to reserch it. I think it is a profound statement and I want to say thank you to the author of it for expressing and sharing it with us. It is such an inspiration to me that I intend to print it and frame it so that my family can be inspired and encourage by it also.

  6. Akeelah & the Bee is a beautiful movie that quotes this speech… but leaves out the “child of God” part which didnt make the quote as inspiring. Coach Cartar quoted this speech from time & made a better impact of the meaning.

  7. The quote has recently been used twice in a major motion film. The first was Coach Carter and the second was Akeela and the Bee. Mandela did use the quote in his 1994 Inaugural Address as the President of the liberated South Africa. Regardless of authorship the quote is profound and has had a tremendous impact on our lives. I too plan to frame it on my wall and use it in my work with youth. It does remind us of the power of God that resides in us all, if we choose to acknowledge it and expereince it. The internet is such a wonderful thing that allows us to find answers, including spiritual ones, to those nagging questions. Peace to all.

  8. That is a very beuatiful quote. I saw it in the movie Akeelah and the Bee so I had to look it up on the internet. I really enjoyed the movie, and I employ everyone to go and see it, especially the youth. The movie has a very wonderful message for everyone. About time hollywood came out with another good, thought-provoking movie for the whole family. Cheers.

  9. Neither Mandela nor Marianne Williamson is the originator of the speech “our deepest fear” and I do not think that either one of them is making any claims to the provenance of this speech.

      • You are correct. It is in Marianne Williamson’s book, but Google is not your friend if you can’t properly research. This quote is from Frederick Douglass people. Pleeeaaase, give him the credit he is due. Lol. Nelson Mandela quoted Frederick Douglass, not Marianne Williamson.

  10. I went to the movies with my daughter to see Akeelah and the bee and she too was very inspired by the quotation. I plan to frame it for her. Thanks to the internet, I was able to find the quote.

  11. I actually wrote the quote. But I am fine with Mary and Nel using it, as it was designed to inspire. Be inspired!

    -Jackie Tyrone Chan

  12. Stop being so over dramatic, who cares wrote it, because it doesn’t matter. It still inspires many before they even know who the author is. So stop fusing and enjoy the quote because it is truly profound.

    I have seen Akeelah and the Bee tonight and I think it was an inspiring movie and it makes me proud to know that maybe somewhere amoung all of this chaos there is a child out there with ambition to make something of his/herself and become another statistic of the streets…

    • 5 yrs from when your posted your statement. I’m posting mine. Nikki is right ya’ll. As long as you understand the meaning and how to find the quote, it doesn’t matter who wrote it. Either way all of the people mentioned before are equally qualified to have said it 1st. :) Just saying…

  13. SO what I meant to say was:

    Stop being so over dramatic, who cares who wrote it, because it doesn’t matter. It still inspires many before they even know who the author is. So stop fusing and enjoy the quote because it is truly profound.

    I have seen Akeelah and the Bee tonight and I think it was an inspiring movie and it makes me proud to know that maybe somewhere amoung all of this chaos there is a child out there with ambition to make something of his/herself and not become another statistic of the streets…

  14. What a totally AWESOME movie.. I was totally inspired, motivated, and the Quote that was so powerful it just gave me an additional reason not to give up.. this movie should be shown in schools, and people really ned to go see it.. the Power of perseverance this is what i go:)

  15. Wow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    As I sat, gazing at the television, I couldn’t help but reminisce. The quote is extremely profound and it gave me goose bumps. Please share the quote? I think all ethnic minorities should memorize this quote and use it as watch words in their life. This quote has a lot of power and I am happy to have seen it in two of my favorite movies. Like everyone, I am going to frame this quote and hang it on my wall.

    Peace!!!!!!!!

    • I’m curious to know why you used the word ethnic minorities – when no where in the quote it refers to a single race or nationality. The quote us for all people to feel liberated and become inspired.

      I guess you just showed all of us your deepest fear.

  16. I work at starbucks and have been promotive Akeelah and the bee for weeks now not really knowing what is was about. I was overjoyed by the film and quite inpressed. It it great for the whole family. it really has made a difference in my life =)

  17. I have a question for Kay. Why is it that you believe neither Marianne W. or Nelson M. wrote the quote? Marianne does in fact claim provenence. However, I noted on her website that the first three sentences have quotes within quotes, as though she is borrowing that portion from another source. If you have any insight, I would love to hear it. I will check here periodically to see is you respond.

    • The original quote is from Frederick Douglass and written in the 1800’s. Nelson Mandela did not quote Marianne W., he quoted a slave who taught himself to read and write, became an American social reformer, orator, writer and statesman. After escaping from slavery, he became a leader of the abolitionist movement, gaining note for his dazzling oratory and incisive antislavery writing. It is important that people understand who wrote such a thing.

  18. I FIRST HEARD THIS QUOTE IN COACH CARTER AND IT INSPIRED ME TO LOOK IT UP…. HOW AMAZINGLY INSPIRATIONAL A FEW WORDS CAN BE WHEN USED IN MENAINGFUL AND CREATIVE WAYS… ALTHOUGH I HAVEN’T WATCHED AKEELAH AND THE BEE B/C I’M IN THE NAVY AND STATIONED IN JAPAN I WILL WATCH IT THE FIRST OPPORTUNITY THAT I GET.

    GOD BLESS YOU ALL..

  19. How funny. I just saw “akeelah and the bee” tonight as well, and have been searching the internet in earnest trying to find out if the movie had left out parts of the quote referring to “God,” since I don’t remember the movie mentioning “God.” One guess as to why they left it out, if they did, is to prevent controversy since as americans, different people have different religious beliefs. Such a reference could take away from the impact of the quote, especially for those who do not believe in “God” or believe in a different “God.”

  20. I can’t believe how many of us ran to the internet in search of this quote. I just purchased a huge frame to put it in and place on my office wall. I am a social work manager. I plan to use it as a constant reminder for myself and my adult employees. I can’t wait to purchase the movie!!!!! Can you imagine what success we would have if we all embraced this quote daily–wow!

    • I just head this in the movie Akeelah and had to look it up. I love it and think it is great. Your right if we could all just embrace it daily it would be great. I wrote it down as I have been having a hard time in believeing in my self so I think it is a positive in my life.. I agreee Kim!!! WOW!!

  21. If you want the answer to the question about whether or not Mandela ever said it, check out this website:
    http://www.newsobserver.com/667/story/436158.html

    I agree, however, that no matter who said it or what urban myth made it so widely accessible, it is extremely valuable as a lesson. I also believe that perhaps taking out “child of God” made it even more widely applicable. Those of us who believe that being a child of God makes you lovable will take that piece from it, while those who maybe have not found God can be inspired more easily without those words. Just a thought….

  22. I saw the movie with my family and the quote blew me away. I also saw it in coach carter and was blown away. I encourage all to embrace God through this quote. this has encourage me to continue believing never giving up.

    Stay encourage.

  23. Liz, honey, no, no! It’s Akeelah & the Bee – meaning spelling BEE. Akeelah is not a bee nor is she the bee; she merely particaptes in bees, spelling bees.

    Check your facts, bitch.

  24. Here are the two versions of the quote, from the movie and from above. Both do seem to mention God.
    First from the movie

    “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 frightens us most. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in all of us. And when 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.”

    and from above

    ‘Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond imagination. It is our light more than our darkness which scares us. We ask ourselves – who are we to be brilliant, beautiful, talented, and fabulous. But honestly, who are you to not be so?
    You are a child of God, small games do not work in this world. For those around us to feel peace, it is not example to make ourselves small. We were born to express the glory of god that lives in us. It is not in some of us, it is in all of us. While we allow our light to shine, we unconsciously give permission for others to do the same. When we liberate ourselves from our own fears, simply our presence may liberate others.’
    – Marianne Williamson in Return to Love: Reflections on a Course in Miracles

  25. I thought the poem was brilliant. It was exactly what I needed to hear and what a lot of us need to hear. It doesn’t matter to me who said it, but what truly matters is how many lives it will change. I am thrilled that I found this poem because it is also going on my wall and the wall of all my closest friends and family.

  26. I have been searching for this poem all day long….And I am so glad that I finally found. I will be residng on my wall as well. I believe that everyone needs something like this to give them inspiration and motivation to be all they can be—It’s okay to have goals and dreams to be the BEST!!!!!

  27. who cares who this speech is by, at the end of the day this speech is so great because its true i love this speech and it inspires me to be all i can.

    • i love dis poem too its so inspiring and questions what are capabilites are.its life changing and i hope it changes our lives.as a gift to all blessed people in my class i intend to paste a copy on my class wall so its the first thing you see in the morning.

  28. The quote, as cited at the top of this webpage, has numerous inaccuracies, to the point of real degradation of the actual quote and it’s power. If you want to read the actual words — the authentic, original quote — please go to Marianne W.’s website: I think it’s Marianne.com. You can also ‘go’ to google and google “Marianne Williamson and Nelson Mandela” and that will take everyone to the real origins of it — and to how much greater so very many people suddenly thought it was when they believed (incorrectly) that Mandela wrote it, as opposed to a (then) little-known young, spiritual Jewish woman. That itself is very telling about the psychological power of “attribution” — i.e. how we humans tend to give our power away to hero worship (a subtle form of idolatry) and experience something as being more “amazing” and having more value if we think it comes from someone famous and “great”. This is all the more ironic given the message of the quote! (…”It is not just in some of us; it is in all of us.”) … …

    YES the quote is truly great and has its intrinsic truth and power regardless of WHO wrote it (and so in THAT sense, at THAT level, it doesn’t matter who wrote it) — yet if the misattribution had never been made and no one had believed it was from Nelson Mandela, none of you many souls who love it and have been so moved by it would ever have HEARD of it. (And, of course, it never would have been in those two movies.)

    Something to think on…

    Glory to “God” — The Self Behind All selves! — The Infinite Creative SELF of the Universe!

    P.S. FYI: In the mid and late 1990s, The Landmark Corporation, which gives the widely held and influential confrontive and “breakthrough”-catalyzing personal growth seminars such as their most well known course “The Forum”, featured the quote everywhere in their many well-attended seminar rooms throughout the U.S. and beyond — always with the name “Nelson Mandela” at the bottom. Whether this was out of unintended error, or whether, as I have sometimes suspected, it was intentional — in order to have the quote be received by everyone as being as fully awesome as it IS — I do not know. What I do know is that they are a very savvy, very canny and knowledgeable group. Why, IF they did, would they do it intentionally? Because the words of an unquestioned world famous sage (or, alternately, on the big screen) are, automatically… the “Deep Truth” or “important” and to be taken in, whereas the exact same powerful & true words of (what we so sadly call a) ‘nobody’ go unnoticed and unheralded and are — as many, MANY Social Psychology experiments have proven — perceived by nearly everyone as far less profound and important and amazing. (I’m sorry, but this is true about humans, and we do not want to believe it is true of us.)

    “The primary cause of disorder in ourselves
    is the seeking of ‘reality’ promised by another.”
    -Krishnamurti

    • Thank you for your “insight” it says too much about our society and humanity in general. We are mostly sheep looking for a shepherd. Mandela is a far more recognized shepherd, and so goes the world.

      The Olympics have earned the respect of the world for its athletes who strive to be the worlds best. Let’s give them a round of applause for showing the world what RESPECT is; sending its gold medal winners home, because they did not uphold integrity and respect for themselves. Little by little, person by person, if we each take a stronghold on what we can, we can bring respect back into society.

  29. Addendum (From Marcus again):

    The first three sentences of the quote are a quote WITHIN a quote, and are from “The Course In Miracles” — not from Marianne Williamson, let alone Nelson Mandela.

    So, to clarify: Marianne Williamson, not Nelson Mandela, is the author of the quote we’re all talking about (this is not debatable or a matter of opinion: It’s a matter of public record, there for all to look up, that the quote is in her book A Return To Love, which was published in 1992 — two years before Mandela’s 1994 Inaugural Address) — with the esception of the opening 3 lines: That sub-quote, WITHIN the quote, is from “A Course In Miracles” — a ‘channeled’ work that purports to be a direct message dictated from “Jesus” through the pen of a person named Helen Schucman. Helen Schucman, who died many years back, was a highly assimilated, (nominally) Jewish woman who taught medical psychology at Columbia (Medical Center?) in NYC and claimed to be an atheist or agnostic, yet who, nevertheless, starting in 1965 (and through to 1972), had exact words (which announced themselves as “a course in miracles”) ‘dictated’ to her by a voice which she felt compelled to write down until a nearly 700 page complete course was written. She herself was never comfortable with and/or didn’t believe in the material as absolute truth and the word of “Jesus”, yet had the experience of hearing it all and choosing to record it all regardless of what SHE thought of it.

    Marianne Williamson, who STUDIED and was inspired and felt “awakened” by the Course In Miracles, wrote a commentary/reflections ON it.

    SO: The whole quote is Marianne Williamson’s drosh (riff) on a quote from A Course In Miracles, itself written by Dr. Helen Schucman (nee Cohn), who says she DIDN’T “write” it and instead was merely “the scribe”.

    Pretty trippy, and ‘tricky’. But now you know. (Life IS stranger than fiction…!)

    Marcus

    P.S. Not only was the quote not written by Nelson Mandela, but I have heard it CLAIMED that it is not even QUOTED by him in either of his two Inaugural Speeches (May 9th, 1994, at Cape Town, and May 10th 1994, at Pretoria). I cannot say whether this latter assertion is true.

  30. This quote is used in the movies Akeelah & the Bee and in the movie Coach Carter. Both are very great, inspiring family movies.

  31. Thank you Marcus,

    Not sure whether you’ll hear my appreciation, or how these internet tags go. But I did appreciate your comments, was just not sure what I was experiencing upon reading through everyone’s comments, until I came to yours!

    A few years ago I did read the aforementioned quote, attributed to nelson mandela. and felt it was very important. today I came across the quote, attributed to Marianne Williamson, and was upset thinking that there was some form of racism or disregard for an important figure (Nelson Mandela) in the incorrect labeling. As i was reading through the various sources (Nelson Mandela’s inaugural speech/es), the comments regarding Williamson versus Mandela, and this website, something was nagging me. I believe you hit it on the head. the quote is powerful, yet without mandela’s name attached i may not have given it attention. because i could associate myself with such a powerful, influential, and heroic person through the qoute, it had more meaning for me. because of my perception of who marianne williamson is, I probably would have read the qoute originally with clouded interpretation and less appreciation.

    thank you.

    bekah

  32. I saw Akeelah and the Bee tonight on DVD. The quote sent me running to the internet also. Furthermore, on the DVD the quote does read “you are a child of God”. Very inspirational.

  33. I saw the movie on a plane from Puerto Rico to Philadelphia. My sister is moving there pursuing her dream, and this was the message she needed to hear at that time.

    Something funny happenened before the movie, and it was that Akeela was not supposed to be shown, but Take the Lead of Antonio Banderas. But they had problems with the tracking of Take the Lead, and showed Akeela as a backup…

  34. I just saw Akeelah and the Bee over the weekend with my 91 year old grandmother. We both loved it, and just like everyone else here, the quote sent me to the Internet to see who wrote it (I must say-slightly disappointed there). As a teacher, I plan on posting the beginning of the quote in my room. Sadly, due to the use of the name God, I can’t post the entire quote.

  35. I would like to thank everyone for helping me research this partial quote that I found watching the movie “Akeelah and the B”
    I went to the internet to find answers to who produced such a touching,inspirational publication. Some people seemed to get a little upset and lash out with all of these facts on who wrote this. This Lashing actually helped me in finding my answers. Really,does it matter or does it change anything. The truth is words are powerful in many ways. I am just glad I came acrossed some of these. Thanks for all powerfull words!!!!!

  36. i think it is a good pome but 2pacs pomes are the best pomes in the world u should go look them up right now on google i think this is good pome. Peace out A-town down

  37. Peeling back the words reveals a deeper statement here. Is my light that need, am I more powerful beyond imagination? The scripture states that I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me. It is a fault to focus on the “I” and miss the Christ. Everything in this world will pass away it is only the word of the Lord that will remain. It is not my light that I wish to shine. If we are honest with ourselves and look into the nature of what we are we will understand this. I am not God, nor did I create Him. I am His instrument upon which He plays His glorious music. Without Christ no music would be played, no light would be shown, to think anything to the contrary would be to make the mistake of lucifer and thrown ourselves in Gods place. In whose steps do you choose to walk? God’s or the devil?
    With Love and Caution,
    -William

  38. I always though it terrible Mandela did not cite this quote. Now half the people that recognize it are certain it was written by him, and Marianne Williamson gets not enough credit for this brilliant writing.

  39. I found the quote on the DVD of Akeelah and the Bee to be, “We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us” not “you are a child of God”.
    I believe they can mean one in the same, however just being a child of God doesn’t necessarily remind us that we are to make manifest the greatness we all within us, because of our wonderful loving God who is within! God has givin us all greatness within, and what we do with it, is up to us. We all have the capabilities to be great because of Him.

  40. Truly an awesome, inspirational movie!

    I first had the quote up on my side column on my blog, Off the Hook Awesome Crochet, about a month before I saw the movie Coach Carter and then a week or so later watched Akeelah and the Bee! Quite timely!

    My daughter tried out for the district spelling bee when she was in the fourth grade. Unfortuantely, she wasn’t serious, mostly because as a young genius (smile, that’s a proud momma for you!), she had to deal with the fears of her peers laughing at her. (She was in the second grade being placed in classes with fourth and fifth graders: advanced reading and math and they weren’t always friendly towards her. She now is in the 9th grade, coming into the beauty of her own skin)

    I highly recommend that movie to all!

  41. I was done watching akeelah and the bee few minutes ago, the scene when the Marriane Williamson poem was narrated, it striked me that i had to find the poem and had to have a copy of it, it made me realize some things….it is truly an inspiring poem

  42. Wonderful movie and it was the quote that made it. I hope we can all follow in the footsteps of Akeela and do things we never believed we could do.

  43. wonder if any reads the added notes anyway but i died … i didn’t even notice who wrote the quote until you all started to rant about it ….. it’s more the words i care about then who said them …. just now with everyones views and side comments i wonder if this is even the full accurate quote…. and then again who can say it’s not. It all depends on who is saying the quote to begin with so i guess the by line dose matter .. but to me what is written still is inspiring and uplifting.

  44. Eric, you are absolutely right. Someone put these beautiful words together to offer some inspiration for anyone who reads them or hears them.

    I have seen it in poster form, attributed to Nelson Mandela. He did not write it. It is not in his first speech either. So I do not know how it ever evolved that he said it.

  45. To everyone who has already found and bought a poster of this quote, whether it was Marianne Williamson or Nelson Mandela…could you please refer me to a few websites where it is available for purchase? Thanks for the help.
    L

  46. Greeting Ladies and Gentlemen:

    Like an earlier writer I first heard this quote in the movie Coach Carter and then its’ shorter form in Akeelah & the Bee. I find the words in the quotation to be very powerful and both movies to be inspiring as well. All are very well done.

    So much for my 2 cents…

    Be Blessed

  47. i think it’s a shame that so much controversy is being generated about who wrote the poem. the more enlightened of us have already stated that it is the intent not the author that matters. well done to those who hold that view. as for the teacher who can’t put up the whole quote because of ‘God’ in it, i think you should take a leaf from Coach Carter and stand by your convictions. as the poem says, don’t shrink so that others won’t feel threatened. be proud put up the whole poem, by doing so, you automatically give someone else the courage to follow their own convictions.

  48. i luv this quote and the true writer (Marianne Williamson) deserves all the credit. i think this quote is true about everyone and every thing in life and to bring more attention to it should be put in more movies than just Coach Carter and Akeela and the Bee (not that i don’t think they were used brilliantly in both films which i do)

    luv ya all

  49. I first saw this quote as a background on a scrap book paper. Then I saw coach carter and heard him use it as well as Akeelah and the Bee. For me it has a been words to live by. When I first heard the quote I was going through a very difficult time in my life. It told me to not be afraid and to use all my power to shine and by doing that I could help others going through a difficult time. So I have always kept it in the back of my mind as a way of reminding me to live each day to the fullest and with a certain tennacity.

  50. I had to stop the DVD in the middle of the movie to look up the quote!
    1. Discussion is good, it is not “ranting” nor is it “argument”. I lament the loss of intelligent discussion.
    2. Information is good too. The more we know the more we can discuss intelligently and exchange ideas.
    3. No, we don’t all have to agree. That is beauty of being human. Get over it. If people disagree with you they are not attacking you, they simply disagree.
    4. Thanks for lively discussion and information. I now can look further and educate myself.
    5. I am so glad this website exists! I “googled” it and look what I found!! Now a “favorite!”
    Jeanette

  51. I enjoyed both movies where the quote was mentioned and was inspired, as well as others. My boss who I respected recently lost her job which has sent our entire department in a tail spin. I along with others positions were discontinued. I offered another position accepted but my new boss clearly does not want me. So, the quote has inspited me to prove myself, not to be a shrinking violet.

  52. Honestly, the last thing we need is a reminder of ourselves.
    Our children should be inspired by their own thoughts, and imagination.
    Though, I do agree this is a truly beautiful quote, which, if it was so great, why was it only to be brought up through corrupted media?
    People that must be reminded to do their best, to follow their hearts and dreams, do not deserve to have such.
    It is the great words of their own that must shine with them!
    Not some words of another…
    I do not mean this to be challenged, or critical. Only to express my point of view.
    Let us be inspired by our own corruptions, not someone elses.
    In the end, it is better to die with your own lies planted inside your dreams, than someone who long ago believed that people were once worth something more.
    Let us pretend, there is an ultimate truth, besides that of a gospel, or a speech.
    And let us be free.

  53. Wonderful and inspiring quotation. After hearing it motivated me to stop holding myself back and to believe beyond measure. To stop be intimidated by me and the force within that pushes me to excel. Yet, to freely expand that others as well may see my wings and choose to soar.
    Thank you whoever wrote the quote.
    Rose Dean
    Recent RN graduate against all odds

  54. um… i’m confused!! none of these quotes seem to be te real one so i have included one that is pretty close to what i remember off coach carter… hope it is use full. Here goes…

    “Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our greatest fear is

    that we are powerful beyond reason. It is our light, more than our

    darkness, that scares us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who are we to be

    beautiful, talented, individuals?’ truthfully, who are you not to be?

    You are a child of God. Your playing small does not work in this world.

    There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that others will cease

    feel insecure around you. We were born to express the glory of God that

    lives within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in all of us. And

    when we allow our own light shine, we unconsciously give others

    permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our

    presence automatically liberates others.”

    ~!@#$%^&*()_+SoMe RaNdOm+_)(*&^%$#@!~

  55. The actual quote from Coach Carter(Word to Word) is 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. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We were all meant to shine as children do. Its 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”

  56. I saw Akeelah and the Bee today and right as i got home i reasearshed the quote.

    I think it is a great and a very good quote. I heard about it before, and it is my favorite quote of all time. i did hear the quote in coach cater, but it was changed a bit.

    I HIGHLY Reccomend the movie for EVERYONE!!

  57. For all those who are bickering over who wrote the bloody quote.. get may want take a moment to re-read what it says and think about the meaning, cause you obviously missed the point.

  58. For all those who are bickering over who wrote the bloody quote.. you may want take a moment to re-read what it says and think about the meaning, cause you obviously missed the point.

  59. I am a senior in highschool and everysenior has to do there senior thesis i fell in love with this quote and understand most of it,but i am in search of fondong other people and sites who can interpret it in more meaning to my interpretation. My senior thesis topic is unclear to me but i do know i want to base it on the quote

    “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond imagination. It is our light more than our darkness which scares us. We ask ourselves – who are we to be brilliant, beautiful, talented, and fabulous. But honestly, who are you to not be so?
    You are a child of God, small games do not work in this world. For those around us to feel peace, it is not example to make ourselves small. We were born to express the glory of god that lives in us. It is not in some of us, it is in all of us. While we allow our light to shine, we unconsciously give permission for others to do the same. When we liberate ourselves from our own fears, simply our presence may liberate others.”

    Can some one please help me????????…

  60. A little back story from an old guy.

    Ms Marianne Williamson gained national acclaim for her lectures and books, many of which are based on the Course in Miracles, a metaphysical text. The book which is the source of the, “Your greatest fear…” passage is Return to Love, which is more or less, a collection of her CIM lectures. My intrepretation of the passage is that Spirit (or God, if you prefer) has blessed us with talents and gifts which we are obliged to share. However, human nature (ego, according to CIM) would have us hide these gifts and talents and pretend they don’t exist. Many people consider this being humble, but in reality it simply makes it more difficult for others to be all that they can be because it makes excellence the domain of the exceptional, the freakish. The passage points out that we can’t have it both ways. If we are the creation of God then curing disease, making great art and establishing peace is child’s play. But first we must overcome the fear of being part of that tiny group of people who ‘dare to be great.’

    My recollection is that Return to Forever had a strong but small following, as does the Course in Miracles. When Mandella quoted the work, Public Television lifted that part of his speech and broadcast it as a one minute inspirational spot. Neither Ms Williamson nor her book was mentioned. Then the quote was circulated far and wide with Mandella’s name attached to it. (Who says no one watches Public Television)? At a subsequent lecture, Ms Williamson asked her then humble following to do what they could to correct the situation as flyers with the “Madella” quote were popping up everywhere. Almost 15 years later the situation is no better because so many different people are so sure they know the TRUE source of the quote that it winds up being used without attribution because screen writers are lazy.

  61. I think that whoever wrote this poem didn’t really care if everyone knew that they wrote it, i think it was a little more than that, they wanted everyone to enjoy it. You people are too busy bickering than actually enjoying the beauitful quote.

  62. I believe that whoever wrote this poem didn’t really care if everyone knew that they wrote it, they just wanted people to understand and believe in it. Some of you people are too busy bickering about this beautiful quote than enjoying its real purpose

  63. I heard only a small part of the quote before. I can’t put into words just hearing the small bit meant to me . I printed it out for inspiration so I can go on with the struggles I face everyday .

  64. I’ve watched the movie approximately 3 times since renting it and I’m intrigued by the message it sends to our children, community and society. The I’m printing the quote to read for inspiration and encouragement in my daily living. I also plan to share it with my offspring in college and high school. As for the author….THANK YOU! Laurence Fishburne, Samuel Jackson and others…thanks for adding your own “twist” which draws recognition! Continue to be blessed!

  65. Thank you so much who ever posted this quote is what I have been looking for. Its just inspirational so credit goes to whoever was the “architect” and who ever lives in this line…….

  66. I prefer the coach Carter version. If only that it leaves any mention of god out of it. I’ve allways felt the essence of the passage is that we all have the right and abilty to shine in our own right, as individuals, and therefore inspire those around us to do the same.

    Throughout history and at this very moment religion is quite possible the biggest threat to mankind and to this very idea. Religious dogma subjugates so many of the worlds populace, either through limiting their own thoughts to the will of their religious masters. Or through the many ways religious groups and ideals oppress people around the world. Organised religion, is a bigger threat to our indivudal freedoms then anything the world of men has ever seen.

    Playing small to the writings of archaic tombs with no basis in fact does not serve the world, it is in us all to be guided by our own moral compass and excel in our own right with open minds and hearts.

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  68. The brilliance of these words are metamorphically played out in the very essense of the history of the orgin of their authorship. Ms. Williamson shine on…

  69. This quote is widely mis-attributed to Nelson Mandela.

    Someone said that the actual author is Marianne Williamson. (To be precise, from her 1992 book, “Return to Love” (hardcover p. 165, paperback pp. 190-191). (see also http://jmm.aaa.net.au/articles/4564.htm) However, I am NOT certain this is correct.

    The movie “Akeelah and the Bee” attributed the quote to civil rights activist WEB DuBois (1868-1963), which I believe IS correct, for three reasons: 1) The quote is very much in line with other quotes by Dubois (especially the “child of God” part, which was based on the idea that blacks were God’s children also, not just caucasians). In Akeelah&tB, her teacher expressed deep appreciation for the words of DuBois for a reason

    2) Dubois lived over a century ago; it is much more likely that Williamson was quoting Dubois in her 1992 book (the quote was also wrongly attributed to Nelson in 1994, remember) than for some historical evidence to attribute the thought to Dubois sometime previous to his death in 1963… =)

    3)Dubois died as a citizen of Ghana (in 1963), which is reasonably close to South Africa (where Nelson gave the inaugeral speech that does not contain the quote which everyone think it does). The fact that the quote is also attributed to Nelson (leader of a country that could easily have associations with Ghana and thereby its historical applauds) is suspicious.

    I could be wrong… It’s worth looking into, but I strongly suspect WEB Dubois deserves the credit.

    Happy Hunting!
    (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W.E.B._DuBois for more info on WEB DuBois)

  70. I love this quote and will paint it on my wall when my new place is ready to move in… i will alter it though as i dont like the parts about god. To me this quote represents something we can do for ourselves, not something we are doing for the glory of god.

  71. love the quote whoever brought it to light kudos i loved the akeelah and the bee movie too it inpires me hey folks shouldnt forget this quote was also mentioned in the coach carter movie

  72. i was assigned and extra credit assignment. to read the entire quote and respond on it i found that once i started to list out my fears i found that my biggest fear was not succedding in what i wanted to do in with my life. i thought for awhile that the darkness you refered to in the quote just had the mear meaning of no light but i was wrong i now know that to me at least it means thing that i am or was afraid to try.

  73. I went looking for this quote because it said so much to what i was going threw but now it’s like a wild goose chase to find out who really said it i for one would like to know who said it frist

  74. The reason it’s important to credit the author who wrote it is to be able to trace something back to its “source(s).” Many people, especially in our media are adept at misleading us by half-quotes, quotes out of context and half-truths – which may not be out-and-out lies — but lead to our self-deception and self-delusion because we may not take the time to unscramble this mass/mess of words.

    It’s important that we search out the truth – no matter where it leads. We may not always like what we find but we will be bigger for doing it. It is important to each of us.

    Something about the total urban myth of attributing this lovely poem to Nelson Mandela may have given it a bigger play than it would have gotten otherwise — if more people thought it just came from some young(ish) woman of the (formerly) Jewish persuasion. Spirit is adept at using anything and anybody to plant the seed and then give it a whirlwind ride, regardless of the author (original vehicle) who wrote it.

    It also seems fitting after you find out that Mandela didn’t write it or even quote it in his two inaugural speeches that the core meaning of the poem is stressed. It is about talents and abilities that we ALL have that were previously hidden away by acting smaller than we are. So it doesn’t matter that a black man didn’t write it or quote it or that a white woman did — it’s FOR and ABOUT all of us regardless of skin color, religion or other belief system. It illustrates how alike we all are in spirit.

    This is a truly lovely website where discussion is once again allowed and accepted. Nice to see so many different viewpoints expressed, respected and heard.

    Many thanks,
    Jean

  75. Pingback: Bart Gibby » Marianne Williamson or Nelson Mandela?
  76. I also saw Akeela & the Bee on Sunday night. Beautiful, Beautiful movie. It had me crying through parts of it. I had heard the quote before in another movie, but it had not grabbed me as much as it grabbed me after hearing Akeela read it. It drove me to finding the quote and make it my personal inspiration from now on.

  77. I heard this quote a long time ago (i cant remember quite where) and thought it was deep and inspiring and tried to apply it to my life long before I had heard anything about Mandela being the author.

    So for those that somehow feel Mandela was given authorship in order to give it more weight they probably need to examine the true meaning behind those words and perhaps theyll realise that the quote stands alone no matter who wrote it.

  78. I absolutely love the quote, it has inspired me and changed my life. Working in Corporate American, we as black people at times may forget who we really are. ” We are powerful beyond mesure”, and white people know that! I saw both movies, and they were both great quotes. I have printed it out and put it on an African American paper and placed it on my desk, and someone always seems to be intrigued by it. It’s more than just a quote it is a way of life. Peace to all my brothers and sisters, one love.

  79. I, too, found this quote through the movie, Akeelah and the Bee, and was moved by it. Marianne Williamson is an inspiring writer. We are fortunate to have the opportunity to enjoy education and literature.

  80. this quote means that we are not afraid to show are true fears in darkness, mainly because everyone else is afraid of the dark. We are afraid of the light because no body fears the light and those who do are to scared to admit it. The fear pushes us to be better and greater to become more powerful than that fear, but when we become face to face it is our power which frightens us.

  81. well i watched both movies and i feel this is a quote we need to advocate to our children so that we can instill self determination,discipline and courage in the midst of all the abominations happening in this world today.

  82. Yes, Akeelah and the Bee was a good movie. What amazes me is that none of you seems to have been paying attention. The quote was written by W.E.B. Du Bois. It is important to give credit where credit is due. Not only did Mr. Du Bois dedicate his life toward advancing the rights of Black people, he also taught us all about the pride and strength that resounds in “The Souls of Black Folks.”

  83. I don’t understand the 1st line of this quote in relation to the rest. What is it saying? And also, is that 1st line really true? Are we more scared of our power than our inadequacy? Doesn’t the end of the quote say that we are scared of our inadequacy but we shouldn’t be?
    Thanks

  84. This quote is often used by motivational speakers. In psychology we studied this sort of thinking. “You are not rich because you feel you don’t deserve to be rich.” “You are not healthy because you feel you don’t deserve to be healthy.” “You are not successful because you feel you don’t deserve to be successful.” Each with the implied promise that the desired state is really the more easy accessible one, if only we just believe. That it is ourselves holding us back from this ideal and natural perfect state. It sounds good and inspires people to believe and feel better. Unfortunately it is far from the truth. Most people are not “brilliant, beautiful, talented, and fabulous”. In fact the only basis for these word is no actual measurement, but rater they are differentiation words describing a difference from normal. If everyone was talented it would no longer be considered a talent. If everyone was beautiful it would no longer be considered beauty. etc. Most people in this world live below the poverty line, and face real struggles not of their own making. I’m glad that so many middle and upper class first worlders can post this quote on their refrigerators to feel inspired. It is unfortunate that it is so far from the truth and reality of most of the world. Everyone isn’t perfect and amazing, holding themselves back out of fear, truth is everything amazing and great we have we’ve either worked hard to gain or have been fortunate/lucky to obtain.

    • i understand you are a pessimist and do not understand the concept of positive reinforcement, if you are told you are trash all your life and will not amount to anything you will not, if you are told you are a valuable person and have something no one else has you might just believe it and succeed, attitude is everything and honestly, yours stinks! every person is unique and has different talents whether they are in your face or hidden, deal with it, you act like all persons are not perfect, you obviously don’t believe in God, all creatures are perfect in
      their own way whether to teach a lesson or to be an inspration. I am sorry if this upsets you but you obviously have an attitude that need serious reflection, and a positive influence…bless you and good luck

    • I have to agree with you when you said, “If everyone was talented then it would no longer be considered as a talent. If everyone was beautiful then it would no longer be considered as beauty”. It is true that SOME OF US possess these things or HAVE to possess these things to be considered BETTER. But this quote is not about you comparing yourself to others and feel BETTER or feel that you excel. That quote is merely saying, it is ONLY YOU who can decide whether to excel or not. Only YOU can convince yourself you can do this and that.. that you have to do something GOOD not to make others feel smaller but to excel on your own, compete with yourself and not with others. Conquer your own fear. So what if you’re poor, do something about it.. a lot of successful businessmen have proved that already. So what if a lot of people think you’re ugly? it’s only because a lot of people want to demean other to feel better about themselves. If you think you’re beautiful then you are beautiful. This is what this quote is all about. Okay? You’re way too philosophical that you tend to forget it’s all about SELF REFLECTION, you generalized it. Yes, in reality there are a lot of people who are NOT brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous. Then, they probably HAVE NOT CONVINCED THEIRSELVES yet that they are brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous, don’t you think? Am I right? :)

  85. It is somewhat like the Desiderata! A collection of words so arranged to have impact beyond the ordinary, pedestrian notion of our common experience…

  86. hello im Marnelle:)
    I saw this quote in the movie “akeelah and the bee” today so i had to look it up.it’s so inspirational and as a 15-year old girl it inspires me to do so much.

  87. the original quote is from a book called ‘the prophet’ by kahlil Gibran and variations of the original quote have been used in a couple of films, books and speeches.

  88. A friend of mine looks exactly like that blaxican kid from coach carter so I was going to record him reciting this quote and see if anyone can tell the difference

  89. dis poem is a draem saver cos before i heard it i was feeling so lucky dat i was afraid….i was da lead in ma clas n my friends olways expect alot from me but there expectations gave me fear dat they were expecting a lot n may b i myt fail to deliver my family olso visulizes me as a vry succuess ful woan to b my friends do da same da expectations become too muc to a point were i clnt handle i just wantd to give up n be wat eva bt dis poem asured me dat he only way to over come this fear is being ou best…..n now i cn luk into my future n say i wil b succues ful

  90. This poem has helped me noticed i am a very important person in this world i would always be so negative bout myself i would always say i cant or its impposible and many other things but i have noticed how important i am in this world and that i am a very important person in this world just like everyone else who lives in this world i thank the writer of this poem because this poem has changed me alot thank you good bye love :Stephanie

  91. This is a very inspiring quote written by Marianne Williamson. For people who says it doesn’t matter who wrote it, it does. That’s like Leonardo da Vinci not getting credit for his picture. Anyone who offers something amazing to the world deserves credit.

    Also as far as the author not mattering, a smart person would care about who wrote it just so they can read more inspiring quotes from that author. Not to say people who don’t care are stupid. But if you like that quote get the book Return To Love by Marianne Williamson. It will change your life. This quote isn’t even the best quote in the book. She has quotes that are far greater. A writer like her deserves her credit. So people who want to read more inspiring quotes get the book. Peace and love.

  92. this poem was written by Marianne Williamson :) Before you all go “WE KNOW!”, i’m just reiterating it because something great, like Aleisha88 said, “deserves credit”. I actually realy like Aleisha88’s post, as a whole. It summarizes my views perfectly!

  93. This, I think, is a POWERFUL message to anyone who has ever felt inadequate, because I believe it to be true. We are stronger than we think. Physically, emotionally, spiritually.

  94. A good friend of mine had a large framed print of this poem in her beauty salon. Her salon burned down this past week in a tragic fire in our town that displaced one restaurant and 16 other businesses. Does anyone know where I can purchase a framed copy of this poem. The one she had attributed the author as Nelson Mandela and in doing my research I did find that this is not the case. I just want to replace the poem and get it back where people can see it. In fact, I will order one for myself as well. In searching I just could not find a place that sells prints. Your help is greatly appreciated.

  95. In all this misunderstanding i would like to thank the greatest people who ever walked this earth, the people who left us with wisdom that builds us everyday. When i heard these words of wisdom from coach cater movie,i got so inspired and impressed by the way in some people use the words. For as long as i remember people used words and art in a way that degrades other people.all these were there but were under the shadow of inhumanity. Words, when used with passion of fire and human spirit the fire that comes out of those words can heal instead of burning the nations.

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  107. This poem inspires me a lot it has inspired me to not be affraid of anything I think he is the best writer in the world because this inspire a lot of people to not be affraid

  108. I first heard it from more latest movie than Akeelah and The bee, and Coach carter, the problem is I cannot remember the movie, can someone please tell me from which latest movie this quote was mentioned? aside from these two old films? Thank you.

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  115. I’m writing an article on ‘fear’ and this quote just gave me 60% of what i need 2 write it. Personally, this quote has affected my life positively. Great quote – marianne williamson.

    • The original quote is from Frederick Douglass and written in the 1800′s. Nelson Mandela did not quote Marianne W., he quoted a slave who taught himself to read and write, became an American social reformer, orator, writer and statesman. After escaping from slavery, he became a leader of the abolitionist movement, gaining note for his dazzling oratory and incisive antislavery writing. It is important that people understand who wrote such a thing.

  116. Hello would you mind stating which blog platform
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  117. Marianne Wilson rewrote a quote written by a slave who taught himself to read and write, became an abolitionist, social reformer, and a speech writer after escaping slavery. That is why there are quotes within quotes in Marianne Wilson’s book. Frederick Douglass originally wrote this in one of his speeches and he deserves the credit for it.

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