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Thoughts on Hope and Overcoming Adversity – by Nelson Mandela

Thoughts on Hope and Overcoming Adversity – by Nelson Mandela

All over the world, Nelson Mandela is a human symbol of dignified struggle against adversity and hope for a better future. In celebration of his life of service, we have gathered here a small selection of the precious life lessons he has learned and shared with the world over the years.

Overcoming Adversity

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. ((from:

There are few misfortunes in this world that you cannot turn into a personal triumph if you have the iron will and the necessary skill. ((from

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 lies defeat and death.

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

The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. ((from

I dare not linger, for my long walk is not yet ended. ((From his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom)) (In his book, Nelson Mandela: The Pinnacle-Pillar of Mother Earth, Sri Chinmoy, author of The Jewels of Happiness, commented on this quote: “Our beloved President, walk you must along Eternity’s Road, and follow we must—you and only you.” ((From Nelson Mandela: The Pinnacle-Pillar of Mother Earth by Sri Chinmoy))

Hope for the Future

Our human compassion binds us the one to the other – not in pity or patronizingly, but as human beings who have learnt how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future. ((from:

Courageous people do not fear forgiving, for the sake of peace. ((from:

Peace is the greatest weapon for development that any person can have.

A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.

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… Man’s goodness is a flame that can be hidden but never explained. ((from

Let freedom reign. The sun never set on so glorious a human achievement. ((From

Let there be justice for all. Let there be peace for all. Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all. Let each know that for each the body, the mind and the soul have been freed to fulfil themselves. Excerpted from a speech by President Nelson Mandela given on May 10th, 1994. ((From

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. ((From

Quotes collected by Jamini Young.

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