“Hope is like a path in the countryside: originally there was no path, but once people begin to pass, a way appears.” ~  Lu Xun, Chinese author

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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.”