“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.” N. Mandela
Once in a while great people come on earth to make a difference…Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, M.Luther King…and you!…yes you, the human being with an ordinary name and life, with more or less dreams, achievements, failures. Everybody has his own greatness and everybody can make this world a better place to live…it is all about the choice and the responsibility which comes together, the willingness to get out of the comfort zone, the courage to overcome fears, the insanity to believe when the majority don’t, the stubborn dedication to a cause.
This was my conclusion, after reading the autobiography of N. Mandela, who being born in a country where having a dark skin meant no rights and possibilities, succeeded to become a wold known leader and a winner of Nobel Price for peace.
Born in 1918 in South Africa, Mandela started just with being a child of a chief, a child who very soon lost his father and then was separated from his mother due to poverty and her inability to give him an education or a good living. Thus from a young age he found himself as a member of regent’s family, a situation which Nelson approached with maturity and enthusiasm, a situation which actually enabled him to have access to education.
So, how actually this boy from an African tribe became a famous orator and big intellectual? He states himself that as a child he was eager to listen the political and historical discussions of elders from the tribe (even thou he was not allowed to), latter he developed a big interest toward reading and learning (doing these during the whole life), which helped him constantly to grow as a personality.
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”
He very soon understood its power and masterfully handled this weapon during his entire life. Education reveled him a wider world, thought him about right and wrong, allowed him to taste the flavor of freedom. Education certainly laid the ground for the future leader, but one can not count just on it if one must become a great leader.
“I dream of an Africa which is in peace with itself”
Mandela became a lawyer (that time a total rarity among black people), he struggled with absurd regime of oppression toward native people of South Africa. That was another important moment in his life, a moment when he chose to be active, to make a change, to define and believe in a cause despite the threats of the governance. His believes led him to membership of ANC, which actually played a giant role in freedom strive of black people from South Africa.
“I learn 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.”
Courage…another important ingredient of a wonderful leader, courage to overcome all the obstacles, to rise every time stronger. Courage and inner strength helped Mandela to fight publicly for the truth, to risk his life for the sake of his people freedom; to run, hide and continue his mission despite detentions or death sentence.
“After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.”
Persistence, the power to never give up helped N. Mandela to stay alive and carry on the freedom struggle while being in prison for about 30 years. A stubborn, “sick” willing to reach his life goal, urged him to stay always concentrated on learning and reading, doing sport and being organized (waking up at 5 AM), finding new solutions and seeing the good part even in worst situations. He was all the time on tiptoes ready to act, to risk.
“If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.”
Diplomacy, wise approach of enemies that is what helped Mandela to solve dead ends and lead a nation toward freedom. He knows how to talk to people, where to compromise and where to push harder. His speeches are like a corrida field, where words so graciously flaws between danger and relief.
“I wondered – not for the first time – whether one was ever justified in neglecting the welfare of one’s own family in order to fight for the welfare of others. But I did not doubt that I had chosen correctly. I do not mean to suggest that the freedom struggle is of a higher moral order than taking care of one’s family. It is not; they are merely different. “
The choice to forget about his ego; the choice to put the nation welfare above his own comfort and family happiness; the choice to sacrifice the joy of watching his kids growing, the choice to be far from his mother and wife…these make Mandela a true spirit and rise him above common people.
“It always seems impossible until it’s done”
And Mandela got to see his dream into reality when black people from South Africa received the same rights as white citizens. N. Mandela proved that when you believe in something, when you are willing to fight for it and even sacrifice for it….then everything is possible and nothing can stay in your way to get to that final goal.
“Long walk to freedom” is first of all a book about a nation’s struggle which became the essential part of a man’s life. This book is a wonderful autobiography of N. Mandela, but in the same time it is the autobiography of all black people from South Africa, people who remained unknown but made the idea of freedom to become reality.