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6 Lessons we can learn from Nelson Mandela

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As we mourn the loss of one of the most inspiring men in the world, we take comfort in knowing Nelson Mandela leaves behind a legacy of love. Here are a few notions the Nobel Peace Prize winner’s selfless actions and profound words taught us.

1. “I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons will live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for. But, if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.

Nelson Mandela spent 27 in prison for fighting against the apartheid government in South Africa. Upon his release, he went on to become the country’s president through its first democratic election. After his term, he spent his life tirelessly campaigning for peace and equality

2. “Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.
When all is said and done — when the milestones of your life stretch out before your eyes, it won’t be the successes that define your character.  It will, as Mandela said, be the way you responded to failure and never quit. There is so much to be said for the tenacity of the human spirit.

3. “I like friends who have independent minds because they tend to make you see problems from all angles.
If more people grasped this concept, the world would be an infinitely better place. We can agree to disagree. We can like different football teams. We can even have different political affiliations and still be friends. We’ll be better for respecting and seeing the merit in perspectives other than our own.

4. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it
“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.”
The things that are truly worth having in life are usually the hardest to come by. It’s the people who persevere and push through the difficulties who ultimately accomplish what they set out to achieve.

5. Knowledge is power
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
Change can be met with resistance from people who fear it or who don’t understand it. There are few things more effective as an impetus for change than knowledge — people can’t fight for something if they don’t understand what they are fighting for.

6. Intelligence and kindness make you strong, not weak
“A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.”
In today’s society, kindness and compassion are often mistaken for weakness? There are smart people who attempt to dumb themselves down so as not to be branded “nerdy” or “brainy?” As Mandela points out, being smart and being kind make a person a force to be reckoned with.

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