19 Inspirational Quotes from Nelson Mandela

What can we learn from the life of such a man?

Nelson Mandela

NELSON Mandela passed away last Thursday at the age of 95. He was a man amongst men who fought and won the battle against Apartheid in South Africa.

As the world continues to mourn his loss and reminds itself of Mandela’s heroic leadership and contribution to peace and equality in South Africa, it is worth pausing to reflect on what we can learn from the life of such a man.

What can we learn from Madiba?

For one thing, he is a symbol of hope. A light in dark times. A reminder that it is possible to change the world for the better.

He opposed Apartheid – a system of segregation which curtailed the rights and freedoms of black South Africans. For having the audacity to fight for equality, he served 27 years in prison. He was ultimately released and elected to be the first black President of South Africa in 1994. Apartheid defeated, he had lived to see his vision fulfilled.

Mandela changed the world.

And, so can you.

19 Inspirational Quotes from Nelson Mandela

While his life-long perseverance is perhaps his most inspirational lesson, we can also learn from his numerous words of wisdom.

Below we set out 19 inspirational quotes from Nelson Mandela that capture the wisdom of his thinking and can help to guide us in our own efforts to change the world for the better.

On achieving success

“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.”

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

“Everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success if they are dedicated to and passionate about what they do.”

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

“A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.”

On being a leader

“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.”

“A good leader can engage in a debate frankly and thoroughly, knowing that at the end he and the other side must be closer, and thus emerge stronger. You don’t have that idea when you are arrogant, superficial, and uninformed.”

On conquering fear

“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.”

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. In letting our own light shine, we give people permission to shine. Who are you, not to be brilliant, fabulous and talented? You are a child of God, and playing small does not serve the world. As we are liberated from our fears, our presence automatically liberates others. And so I choose today to live big. My successes and mistakes teach me that the lessons are here to take us beyond our self imposed limits, so that we may be the best persons we can imagine.”

On gaining freedom

“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.”

On positive living

“Man’s goodness is a flame that can be hidden but never extinguished.”

“Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.”

“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, 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 its opposite.”

“If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.”

On changing the world

“There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.”

“I like friends who have independent minds because they tend to make you see problems from all angles.”

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

“A fundamental concern for others in our individual and community lives would go a long way in making the world the better place we so passionately dreamt of.”

The Power of Persuasion

How can you get what you ask for? How can you significantly increase the chances that another person will say yes to your request?

ROBERT Cialdini, best-selling author of Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, gives an insightful talk on how you can persuade people to do what you want.

As a tenured professor, Cialdini jokes that academics are people who are not satisfied by something that works well in practice, until they’ve tried it out in theory.

But after acknowledging the weakness that academics tend to have for pointless theorising, Cialdini goes on to provide 6 practical principles that we can implement immediately in our personal and professional lives to become more persuasive and influential.

The speech above is well worth watching but, if you don’t have a spare hour, just read our dot-point summary below.

Cialdini’s 6 Principles of Persuasion

Influencing the behaviour of others can be difficult and is, in some sense, an art-form which can only be learned through the trial-and-error of life experience.

Despite this, there are some techniques that research has shown can be used to increase the likelihood that people will do what you ask them.

Cialdini provides us with 6 Principles of Persuasion:

  1. Scarcity – Scarcity adds value. By artificially limiting supply, you can make your offering more attractive. This applies equally in the world of business and the world of dating. Cialdini gives an example of a beef wholesaler who was able to increase her sales of beef by telling customers that there would be a shortage of beef in a few months time. And in the world of dating, if your dating experience is as ludicrously hapless as your author’s, you may have noticed that the appealing girls (or guys) tend to be the ones who are already in a relationship. This is no coincidence. We want what we can’t have since scarcity adds value.
  2. Exclusivity – People are attracted to exclusive offerings. Clubs, schools and universities are all more appealing if they are able to develop an aura of exclusivity. Cialdini builds on his “beef wholesaler example” by explaining that when the wholesaler informed customers that her intel about the impending beef shortage was from an exclusive source, people responded more positively and bought more beef. It was the same offer, but its exclusivity made it more persuasive.
  3. Authority – People respond positively to authority figures. Cialdini explains that authority can be established by demonstrating expertise and trustworthiness. This can be done by first bringing to the surface a weakness in your offering, and then presenting your strongest arguments which overwhelm the weakness. By presenting information in this way, it helps to demonstrate your expertise and trustworthiness, and thereby establish you as an authority figure.
  4. Consistency – People are more willing to act consistently with what they have already said or done. Cialdini provides an example of a telephone receptionist whose job was to take restaurant bookings. Faced with the problem of “no shows” (that is, with customers who make a booking and then fail to turn up), the receptionist was able to dramatically reduce the issue by adding two words to her parting remarks. Instead of telling the customer “please call if you want to cancel your reservation” she changed her closing remarks to instead ask them “will you please call if you want to cancel your reservation?” After giving a verbal promise, customers were significantly more likely to fulfill their booking.
  5. Consensus – In deciding what to do, people often take their cue from the behaviour of others. This phenomenon is known as “social proof” – prevalent in ambiguous social situations where people imitate the actions of others in an attempt to adopt appropriate behaviour. Cialdini gives the example of a telly marketing company which exploited this behavioural quirk by getting the presenter to change the closing remarks of her pitch from “Operators are waiting, please call!” to instead say “If operators are busy, please call again!” The second form of words suggests that the operators may be busy, implying that lots of other people are interested in the offer. The number of calls went through the roof.
  6. Affection – People prefer to say “yes!” to people that they know and like. You can help people like you by focusing on the similarities between you, emulating their thinking and behaviour (imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!), and by paying compliments where they are due.

How to Get Lucky

You can create your own luck by expecting good fortune, having persistence, and embracing opportunities as they arise

IF you are like most people you probably appreciate the role that luck plays in finding a romantic partner. People spend large amounts of time attending parties, going to bars, and participating in bizarre social and sporting events.

Why do they do this?

It seems that people intuitively understand that they need to place themselves in situations where serendipity can take place. And if they don’t succeed immediately, they keep going until something interesting (or someone interesting) turns up.

While accepting the role of chance in creating romantic relationships, people often seem to overlook the role that luck plays in establishing a career or building a business.

The lesson on “how to get lucky” appears to be a simple one. You can create your own luck by expecting good fortune, having persistence, and embracing opportunities as they arise.