As human beings, some of us have been giving a lot of thought to Nelson Mandela in the aftermath of his death in December 2013. The media was abuzz about him and some people were wondering which individual African or another person from a different race would fill his shoes. Which world leader would be the new Nelson Mandela.
Well, many of us have read a lot about Mandela and see him as a reluctant celebrity. When you read some of his quotes, you get this impression. He did not think what he did was amazing and he just wanted to spend time with his family; something very normal husband and fathers do.
“Everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success if they are dedicated to and passionate about what they do and have a fundamental concern for others. There is no passion to be found playing small — in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” – Nelson Mandela
As indicated above, With the passing of Nobel Peace Prize winner Nelson Mandela at age 95, one of the world’s greatest icons is lost; but his legacy of leadership remains. He started a movement that positively affected, encouraged, and motivated millions. He inspired and helped others to help themselves.
He was a true leader and in many ways an entrepreneur. What we’ve experienced from Mandela’s life is potentially just the start, and his legend is going to be bigger still. He has given the world many leadership lessons. Future leaders would do well to adopt the Mandela mindset and his profound lessons.
Exhibited below are some examples;
“I was not a messiah, but an ordinary man who had become a leader because of extraordinary circumstances.”
“I stand here before you not as a prophet, but as a humble servant of you, the people.”
“I really wanted to retire and rest and spend more time with my children, my grandchildren and of course with my wife.”
So some of us got this idea, that instead of one of us trying to fill his shoes, all of us should. Some of us think that is what he would want to happen because a whole bunch of Nelson Mandela clones can get a lot of the needed change the world needs.
In the process of doing this, we took some of his quotes and crafted 10 valuable life lessons we could all learn from Nelson Mandela. Enjoy.
1. You are responsible for your life
“I am the master of my fate and the captain of my destiny.” ~ Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela knew that you are responsible for your life, and you have to take control of your steering wheel and take it where you want to go. You. No matter how many genuine excuses you may have. It boils down to you.
We must use time wisely and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right. You can’t have whatever you want in life if you are not in charge and can’t account for the 24 hours you are given daily. There are a lot of resources to help you with time management.
2. Education is power
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” ~ Nelson Mandela
Education was very important to Nelson Mandela.
Finish school, go back to school, enroll in that community college or university. Many of us know going to school is just not always easy, but it really helps and it is the right thing to do.
3. Look at the bright side of things
“I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being an optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death.”
Looking at the glass as half full rather than half empty will help you navigate life.
4. Live on purpose
“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.” ~ Nelson Mandela
This quote really affected many of us. It’s not about some of us getting a six pack, getting married and having a fantastic wedding with tigers and elephants, it’s not about us taking fantastic vacations with husbands or wives…it’s not about any of us buying all Apple products and having the latest Iphone 5, 6,7 and so one. All these things are good but Nelson Mandela wanted people to actually touch and make a difference in someone’s life.
5. One can overcome poverty
“Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity; it is an act of justice. Like Slavery and Apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. YOU can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.” ~ Nelson Mandela
This great man thought poverty could be overcome.
United States and the rest of the world have a lot of rich people and more poor people and even though we live in a rich and blessed country now, there is still a lot lack every where you go.
Mandela said that a good head and a good heart were always a formidable combination. Today more than ever before, the world seems separated into two kinds of people: passionate people on one side (who primarily use their hearts to make decisions) and rational people on the other (who primarily use facts in order to decide). We will thrive if we can balance the use of our heart and our head, as Mandela was able to do.
7. Be better not bitter
Mandela put the greater good over his ego. Imagine if you were imprisoned for 27 years under harsh conditions, wouldn’t you be craving retaliation? Mandela had many opportunities to take revenge when he became the president of South Africa. To the surprise of the black population, he instead led the country to peace.
8. Make things happen
“It always seems impossible until it’s done,” said Mandela. Being a dreamer was part of his success, but he also had a plan and actionable strategies to stay on track. These ultimately lead him to achieve his goals. We need to take action, follow a step-by-step plan, stay focused, be persistent, surround ourselves with like-minded people, and we can make a difference, as well.
9. Empower people
Mandela led his people from behind, valuing them and letting them believe they were in front. He was able to persuade people to do things and make them think it was their own idea. Mandela would interrupt whatever he was doing for impromptu meetings or greetings, and he was able to see and bring out the best in others.
During his imprisonment he did backbreaking work in the lime quarry designed to break his spirit. It didn’t! Even when the harsh sun on the white stone caused permanent damage to his eyes, he refused to give up. He contracted tuberculosis in solitary confinement, which drove most insane, but that didn’t break him either. He fought on, declaring that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.
Having discharged his duty to his people and his country, Mandela can truly rest in peace. He showed us how one person with humility, a dream, great self-discipline and a passionate cause could magnify himself and inspire us all.
One of the many things he learned was that until he changed himself, he could not change others. We can help his legacy continue to ripple across the world and future generations by following his example, using our time wisely and forever realizing that the time is always ripe to be better and do what’s right.
Are we all trying to get more for ourselves and not realizing that there could be some truth in what Nelson Mandela said. Is there a way each of us could do something small to decrease the gap between the rich and the poor? What are your thoughts on this?
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Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, the anti-apartheid icon and first black South African president whose death at 95 in December 2013 touched all corners of the globe, left an indelible mark on United States and the world that still lingers several years after his visit captivated the country — and the world — in a way only a 20th-century titan could.