10 Lessons Learned From Nelson Mandela To Inspire You










Nelson Mandela, a human rights lawyer, a prisoner of conscience, an international peacemaker and the first democratically elected president of a free South Africa, devoted his life to the service of humanity. And the day, when Nelson Mandela was born (18 July), is a reminder that peace can prevail and an inspiration for everyone to take action and change something in this world for the better. Below are some inspirational quotes from Nelson Mandela that I have compiled into these life-changing lessons:



1- Education changes the world:



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

Nelson Mandela

“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

“Without language, one cannot talk to people and understand them; one cannot share their hopes and aspirations, grasp their history, appreciate their poetry or savour their songs. I again realized that we were not different people with separate languages; we were one people, with different tongues.”

Nelson Mandela


“Only mass education, he used to say, would free my people, arguing that an educated man could not be oppressed because he could think for himself.”

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.”

Nelson Mandela








2- Courage is to conquer your 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.”


Nelson Mandela

“Let your courage rise with danger.”

Nelson Mandela

“The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”


Nelson Mandela







3- Never quit believing in yourself:



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

Nelson Mandela

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


Nelson Mandela

“After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.”


Nelson Mandela

“Don't Judge a person by his success stories, but only with how many times the person stood up, after falling down.”


Nelson Mandela

“A winner is a dreamer who never gives up”


Nelson Mandela

“I am not what happened to me; I am what I choose to become.”


Nelson Mandela

“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

“Difficulties break some men but make others”


Nelson Mandela







4- Love and hate, they are taught so learn how to love:



“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.”


Nelson Mandela

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


Nelson Mandela

“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”


Nelson Mandela

“I always knew that deep down in every human heart, there was mercy and generosity.”


Nelson Mandela






5- Freedom is vital:



“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

“I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can only rest for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not ended.”


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.”


Nelson Mandela

“A child is born free”


Nelson Mandela






6- To lead is to inspire:



“Lead from the back — and let others believe they are in front.”


Nelson Mandela

“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

“As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”


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.”


Nelson Mandela

“I am the captain of my soul.”


Nelson Mandela

“One of the things I learned when I was negotiating was that until I changed myself, I could not change others.”

Nelson Mandela

“Courage is not the absence of fear — it’s inspiring others to move beyond it.”


Nelson Mandela

“Quitting is leading too.”


Nelson Mandela

“There are times when a leader must move out ahead of the flock, go off in a new direction, confident that he is leading his people the right way.”


Nelson Mandela

“As a leader, one must sometimes take actions that are unpopular, or whose results will not be known for years to come.”


Nelson Mandela

“Like the gardener, a leader must take responsibility for what he cultivates; he must mind his work, try to repel enemies, preserve what can be preserved, and eliminate what cannot succeed.”


Nelson Mandela

“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.”


Nelson Mandela







7- We’re imperfect mortal beings:

“I am not a saint, unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying.”


Nelson Mandela



8- Dare to dream and live the life of your dreams:



“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.”


Nelson Mandela

“Where you stand depends on where you sit.”


Nelson Mandela

“One cannot be prepared for something while secretly believing it will not happen.”



Nelson Mandela

“Live life as though nobody is watching, and express yourself as though everyone is listening.”


Nelson Mandela





9- To live is to make a difference:



“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

“Your playing small does not serve the world. Who are you not to be great?”




Nelson Mandela






10- Optimism is the way of life:



“Part of being optimistic is keeping one's head pointed towards the sun, one's feet moving forward.”


Nelson Mandela







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