Following the recent passing of a very influential person, I thought I would share a few Nelson Mandela quotes. After his death was announced on television, there were these five quotes that scrolled past the screen, for weeks! So here some of his quotes and my comments on them.
“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who feels afraid but he who conquers that fear.”
We all need to be motivated at some stage, probably more so when we are afraid of doing something. We may refrain from actually doing something just because the whole thing seems too overwhelming or too difficult. The fear of failing may also creep in! The idea here is to face your fears – just do it, whether it seems bigger than you or whatever the ‘excuse’ may be. There will always be some ‘usable excuse’, we just need to mentally motivate ourselves to face that fear and triumph over it.
“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling but in rising every time we fall.”
One thing we all need to face is that there will come a time when we fall. It’s inevitable – it’s bound to happen at some stage. The fall might be a big one or it might be a small one – you can bet your bottom dollar though, that it will come. The difference is how you see it and how you approach the situation of the inevitable fall. Do you see it as a challenge or a problem? If you mentally prepare for a possible fall, the getting up might be easier than you think! Even if you do fall, you need to realize that it creates an opportunity for you to learn and grow. Nobody likes to fall but if it’s bound to happen, we might as well make the best of it! Get up, dust yourself off and rise again to next challenge, stronger and wiser than before!
So you have this task and eventually after plucking the courage to take it one, you might fall… and then you have to get up and face another! Yes, that’s often how it goes. Although, the knowledge of this together with a great winning attitude will get you further. You may also start looking forward to the next hill! Because without all these hills, you will simply not get to where you are supposed to go. I often have to remind my wife that we are simply facing another hill and that there will be another one! She says that this actually helps her to come back to the reality of life and motivates her to carry on carrying one! That’s the way the cookie crumbles, as they say. Use the knowledge of the next hill to your advantage – it creates a great psychological advantage over the ‘less prepared’.
“It always seems impossible until it’s done!”
Have you ever looked back at something that you’ve achieved and thought, “Well, that wasn’t too bad” or “Wow, that was actually easier than I thought”? That’s usually the way life’s challenges seem to go – it always seems too much for you until you actually get it done. This applies to the greatest of all challenges, from the construction of a skyscraper to the raising of children! The most limiting emotion, I believe, is our fear of the unknown or what others have set as limits – done let either of these get the better of you.
A very good example of this that I can think of, is the story of Roger Bannister who broke all beliefs around the physical capabilities of the human body. He ran the mile in a time that doctor’s thought would make your heart burst out of your chest! Everyone told him that it was impossible – but everyone was dead quiet when he proved them wrong!
“And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”
This is probably my favorite one and it rings so true in many instances. Let me take the relevant example of Mr Mandela himself. After being locked away on an island for many years, when his captors let him free he could easily have chosen the vengeful route of bitterness and hatred. He didn’t – he chose to let his own light shine, regardless of other public pressures. This in turn led others to do the same – it’s contagious!
It’s also quite funny actually. Sometimes, when I’m not really feeling that great, I try to give off that feeling anyway. Colleagues ask “Hey, how are you?”. I respond with “Fantastic thanks!”, with a huge contagious smile. The reactions to this have been great because people don’t want to feel ‘left out’ or seem rude by being all grumpy. Some people also just find being friendly to strangers a bit, well, strange – they need a bit of a push. Letting your own light shine first, not only enables others to do the same, but it’s good for your own soul! After all, laughter is the best medicine! Let your light shine in all ways you can, it’s good for the soul!
For more of his famous quotes, get your own copy of his Authorised Book of Quotations, containing almost 2000 quotes!
If you are interested in learning more about one of the greatest leaders of our time, I recommend his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom.