“After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.” ~ Nelson Mandela
An impressive figure of the 20th century, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Nelson Mandela has moved a nation towards justice and touched the life of billions all over the world.
Through courage, compassion, commitment and forgiveness, he will remain an inspiration for us all and that is why I would like to share with you these 22 life changing lessons to learn from Nelson Mandela.
22 Life Changing Lessons to Learn from Nelson Mandela
1. You can change the world through education.
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”~ Nelson Mandela
“Education is the great engine of personal development. It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that the son of a mineworker can become the head of the mine, that a child of farmworkers can become the president of a great nation. It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another.”
2. You should always seek to live the life you think you deserve to live no matter what.
“When a man is denied the right to live the life he believes in, he has no choice but to become an outlaw.” ~ Nelson Mandela
3. Courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.
“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” ~ Nelson Mandela
“The brave man is not the one who has no fears, he is the one who triumphs over his fears.”
4. There are no limits, only those you choose to impose on yourself.
“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” ~ Nelson Mandela
“In my country we go to prison first and then become President. ”
5. Keep your head pointed toward the sun at all times.
“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
6. A good head, a good heart and literate tongue or pen are always a very special combination.
“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.”
7. LOVE comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.
“I always knew that deep down in every human heart, there is mercy and generosity. No one is born hating another person because of the color of his kin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than the opposite.” ~ Nelson Mandela
8. Real freedom isn’t just about casting off your own chains but also the chains of others.
“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” ~ Nelson Mandela
“Freedom is indivisible; the chains on any one of my people were the chains on all of them, the chains on all of my people were the chains on me.”
9. By holding onto resentment you poison yourself more than you are poisoning those you are resenting.
“Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.” ~ Nelson Mandela
“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.”
“I knew as well as I knew anything that the oppressor must be liberated just as surely as the oppressed. A man who takes away another man’s freedom is a prisoner of hatred, he is locked behind the bars of prejudice and narrow-mindedness. I am not truly free if I am taking away someone else’s freedom, just as surely as I am not free when my freedom is taken from me. The oppressed and the oppressor alike are robbed of their humanity.”
10. The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time you fall.
“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” ~ Nelson Mandela
11. When the true leader governs, the people are hardly aware that he exists.
“Lead from the back — and let others believe they are in front.” ~ Nelson Mandela
“A leader. . .is like a shepherd. He stays behind the flock, letting the most nimble go out ahead, whereupon the others follow, not realizing that all along they are being directed from behind.”
“It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.”
12 .Integrity, of honesty and humility… these are your three most important virtues.
“As I have said, the first thing is to be honest with yourself. You can never have an impact on society if you have not changed yourself… Great peacemakers are all people of integrity, of honesty, but humility.” ~ Nelson Mandela
13. Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice.
“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
“Let there be justice for all. Let there be peace for all. Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all. Let each know that for each the body, the mind and the soul have been freed to fulfill themselves.”
14. You are the captain of your Soul!
“I am the captain of my soul.” ~ Nelson Mandela
15. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones.
“It is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones.” ~ Nelson Mandela
16. You change the world around you by changing yourself.
“One of the things I learned when I was negotiating was that until I changed myself, I could not change others.”
17. Don’t judge a man by his success but rather by the many times he fell down and got back up again.
“Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.” ~ Nelson Mandela
18. You can’t serve two masters
“One cannot be prepared for something while secretly believing it will not happen.” ~ Nelson Mandela
19. It doesn’t matter where you’ve been. All that matter is where you’re going.
“It is not where you start but how high you aim that matters for success.” ~ Nelson Mandela
20. Live your life as though nobody is watching, and express yourself as though everyone is listening.
“Live life as though nobody is watching, and express yourself as though everyone is listening.”~ Nelson Mandela
21. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.
“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
22. Death is a natural part of life.
“Death is something inevitable. When a man has done what he considers to be his duty to his people and his country, he can rest in peace. I believe I have made that effort and that is, therefore, why I will sleep for the eternity.”
What is your favorite quote from Nelson Mandela? What is one lesson you have learned from this incredible man? You can share your comment in the comment section below 🙂