Lessons from Nelson Mandela

by Cecilia Magnergård on December 13, 2013

clip_image002“The world has lost a visionary leader, a courageous voice for justice, and a clear moral compass. By showing us that the path to freedom and human dignity lies in love, wisdom and compassion for one another, Nelson Mandela stands as an inspiration to us all.”
– Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the United Nations and Chairman of The Elders

Last week the world said farewell to one of its most admired and beloved individuals. Of the great statesmen of the 20th century, only Mahatma Gandhi and Winston Churchill can be mentioned alongside his name. It is one of the coincidences of history that the three great political figures of our age became famous after spending time in South African jails. When the history of the past century is written no one doubts that Nelson Mandela deserves to be near the top of the list of great leaders. And few will argue if he is placed at the very head.

Imprisoned for nearly three decades for his fight against state-sanctioned racial segregation, Mandela was freed in 1990 and quickly set about working to unite South Africa through reconciliation and forgiveness. Nelson Mandela helped the nation break the practice of racial segregation and do away with white minority rule. "As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison," Mandela said.

Mandela on educationNelson Mandela is leaving behind a legacy of forgiveness, democratic ideals, endurance and a number of wise and memorable quotes – something that people all across the world can look towards for inspiration. He inspired his people and the world through storytelling, and maybe this was the key to his success in mobilising so many.

Nelson Mandela did indeed, forever, change the world we live in. He continuously kept on emphasising the importance of education referring to it as the most powerful weapon one can use to change the world. Mandela accentuated the significance of constantly keep oneself updated on the latest thoughts and trends in order to, as far as possible, understand the world and our close neighbourhood. From the richest nations to the poorest countries in the world, education is the key to move forward.

1BE2BB56Nelson Mandela reminds us of the importance to be brave and even if failing, always dare to keep on fighting. Whether you are a family father, an aspiring entrepreneur, politician, established business-owner or veteran industrialist it is always important keep your head high, stay positive and keep on fighting when times are hard.

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”
― Nelson Mandela

Nothing in this world is impossible; something that Mandela kept telling us. He mobilised his peers to this call, as he created The Elders, an international non-governmental organisation of public figures noted as elder statesmen, peace activists, and human rights advocates, who were brought together by Mandela in 2007. 

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“I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being 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.”
― Nelson Mandela

As outlined in my last article as our brain is biased towards negativity; many find it easy to be pessimistic and think of the negatives that can arise out of a situation. Mandela showed us that positive thinking is the only way to go; the more optimistic one is the more positive the outcome will be.

“A good head and good heart are always a formidable combination. But when you add to that a literate tongue or pen, then you have something very special.”
― Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela is by many seen as the icon of kindness, and he constantly kept reminding us about the importance of true compassion and love. That in combination with a powerful way to communicate, one can come very far.

clip_image006“Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”
― Nelson Mandela

Many too quickly give up and thereafter refuse to get up after failures. If we do not fight to get up we are giving up on something bigger – life itself.

Thank you Nelson Mandela for what you did for the spirit of the world we live in. I am truly inspired by your courage, your perseverance in the best interest of all people on this earth and by your forgiveness. Even though South Africa has lost one of its greatest sons, his legacy and contributions will never be forgotten, but will continue to inspire people in the future.

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