Celebrating a life worth living

Celebrating a life worth living
Published: 12 December 2013
----- lessons from the life of Nelson Mandela

As we say our farewells to Nelson Mandela it is fitting that we reflect on our current behaviours and on what ideals we can take from this modern saint to inspire us over the festive season while we reflect on our goals and desires for next year.

His was surely a life that was worth living and we are grateful for the passion, inspiration and transformation that he enabled us all to have.

While most of us will never have his journey - we can still learn some lessons about making a meaningful contribution.

Do it for others
The first and absolute idea personified by Nelson Mandela is that you do not do things to only benefit yourself. Giving selflessly and serving others must be at the top of your list of values and must be personified through everything that you do.

"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

Make a change
The second idea that comes to mind is that when an opportunity that you believe in arises, you may have to go to extremes to ensure that it is done right. Absolute and total commitment to your cause is required.

"It always seems impossible until it's done." - Nelson Mandela

Mobilise others
An idea that closely relates to this is that it is important to mobilise others and to provide them with structure and guidance towards supporting the just cause. More and more we understand that people work hard for their passions. If you surround yourself with people who have similar ideals and ideas, you will have the key to move ahead. Mandela always involved others and his most famous speeches and initiatives were the result of collective effort. Every step in the journey leads to the next.

"After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb." - Nelson Mandela

Equip yourself
The fourth idea is that you need the correct tools. Mandela definitely made sure that he understood the law, educated himself and others and that he had the intellectual capacity to chase ideas and bring them to fulfilment. He was even a boxer in his youth. Not only did this help him to understand the fighting spirit, but it also shaped him to understand strategy, how to attack his enemies and how to stand up against huge odds.

"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." - Nelson Mandela

Learn about people
Madiba was renowned for his people skills and was well known for inspiring, guiding, listening, rebuking and responding to the needs of individuals and great crowds and communities. Understanding what you have to say to move a situation forward, seems to be one of his talents that we can all learn from.

"There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered." - Nelson Mandela

There is always hope
The sixth idea is, that regardless of where you are, there is always hope, and that you can do something about your world. The fact that Nelson Mandela was in prison seemed only to strengthen his cause. There are many tales of how he communicated and organised others from the confines of a prison cell.

"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

Find the humanity in the situation
The seventh idea, is that you must always look at the humanity of the situation. Nelson Mandela never fought fire with fire, even when the opportunity was often present. Although he fought against a bad system, he remained humane with people within the system. He frequently promoted peaceful means, reconciliation and the quality of all. Many people who were part of the system that he fought have commented on what an inspiring man he was:

"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

Use power wisely
The eighth idea is that when you are given the power, use it and use it for good. Nelson Mandela could easily have been a dictator and an oppressor. When he gained the power, he did not steer South Africa into an abyss but rather used the opportunity to create reconciliation, growth and development to steer South Africa to build houses, empower people and become a balanced rainbow nation - drawing on the strengths of the people present and making the best of the moment.

"If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner." - Nelson Mandela

Give back and give to others
The number of his prison cell - 46664 - became a recognised icon for charitable giving and the Nelson Mandela's Children's Fund will continue to serve humanity. There are many stories of how he raised funds and tirelessly assisted individuals and society at large when he had the chance.

While we will never have the same man walk this earth again we can all carry a little of his legacy in our hearts. We can honour that legacy by learning from some of the actions that marked the life of this amazing man.

"The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." - Nelson Mandela

Be brave
The one quality that will always inspire us from the life of this great man is that he was brave. He was not only brave for himself, putting his life, reputation and destiny on the line, but he was brave for us all.

"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

There is in each of us this greatness and we must seek to find it, explore it and make the most of it in our lifetime.
- Regenesys
Tags: Regenesys, Mandela,


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