Nelson Mandela was not a saint, by his own admission.
His first wife divorced him because of his adulteries.
He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 but in the early sixties he advocated violent struggle.
And although he publicly preached forgiveness, he once let go and gave former South African President FW de Klerk a serve at the Nobel dinner after the award ceremony was over.
He was essentially human.
Yet he triumphed, personally and politically, against overwhelming odds.
Another man might have been left embittered and defeated after 27 years in prison. Mandela instead emerged victorious, a beacon to ‘sinners’ like himself.
There are things he said and did that forever changed the way I looked at the world, and at life. You might like to keep them on your wall, as a daily inspiration, as I have pinned them on mine.
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. It always seems impossible until its done.
4. There is no easy walk to freedom anywhere, and many of us will
have to pass through the valley of the shadow of death again and
again before we reach the mountaintop of our desires.
5. “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.” — from his autobiography: 'The Long Walk to Freedom.'
6. “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in
rising every time we fall.”
7. “Difficulties break some men but make others. No axe is sharp enough to cut the soul of a sinner who keeps on trying, one armed with the hope that he will rise even in the end.” — From a letter to Winnie Mandela, 1975
8. “Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill
9. “Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”
10. “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.”
11. I am not a saint, unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying.”
12. One of the things I learned when I was negotiating was that
until I changed myself, I could not change others.”
13. “A winner is a dreamer who never gives up.”
14. Nothing is black or white.”
15. "Quitting is leading too.”
16. I am not an optimist, but a great believer of hope.”
Hamba Kahle, Madibe. Thank you for a life of such great inspiration. "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."