Nelson Mandela quotes on Leader Impact


Nelson MandelaNelson Mandela died on December 5, 2013 at the age of 95. After spending 27 years in prison as a political prisoner, he was released and forgave his captors. He became president of South Africa and helped the country heal from Apartheid.  He was a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and was a leader of impact.  Here are some of his recorded quotes on being a leader who impacts the world:

Live Well

I note things like passion for life, perseverance, honesty, humility, optimism, hope for change in these quotes. What do you see in his quotes?

“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.”

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

“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.” 

“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.”

“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.”

Love deeply

“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, Long Walk to Freedom

“Courageous people do not fear forgiving…”

Lead courageously

“It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.”

“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.”

“Real leaders must be ready to sacrifice all for the freedom of their people.”

Learn continuously

“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.”

Madiba loved reading and believed that it helps us develop into leaders: “There are certain precautions you should take to prepare yourself for a fruitful study career. You must brush up your knowledge through systematic reading of literature and newspapers.” –Long Walk to Freedom (1995)

On learning with and from others: “Discussion sharpens one’s interest in any subject and accordingly inspires reading and corrects errors.”

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

Leave a legacy

“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.”

“A fundamental concern for others in our individual and community lives would go a long way in making the world the better place we so passionately dreamt of.”

Laugh loudly

“Tread softly, Brathe peacefully, Laugh hysterically.”

What is your favorite Nelson Mandela quote?

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About Steve Morgan

I work in Global Leadership Development with Cru with my wife, Terry. We have been married 30 years and have 4 grown children. We have a Masters in Global Leadership together through Azusa Pacific University. I generally write about 5 “L’s: Living Well, Loving Deeply, Learning Continuously, Leading Courageously and Leaving a Legacy. I occasionally write about Laughing Loudly. Subscribe on the right side to receive an email whenever there is a new post. I invite you to leave your comments so we can dialogue on the various topics and learn from each other. If you are new to the site, you might start with looking at some of the top posts or doing a search on the right side bar for one of the 5 “L’s” that interest you. Or you can view the blog archives for topics. Photo Credit: sarahjoellephotography.com
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2 Responses to Nelson Mandela quotes on Leader Impact

  1. Clair says:

    Love these quotes, but have a question – I would like to know more about what it means to “Brathe peacefully!” Is that breathing slowly and deeply while bathing? 🙂 -Clair in Canberra

    • Steve Morgan says:

      I looked it up also. Best I could tell it is the same as breathe. I guess it is the way he said the quote. I would have just said breathe probably, but I am not Nelson Mandela! 🙂 Thanks for visiting and commenting.

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