START A PETITION 27,000,000 members: the world's largest community for good

11 Lessons from Nelson Mandela

  • 1 of 2
11 Lessons from Nelson Mandela

By David Crane, Ode Magazine

Last week we celebrated living legend Nelson Mandela’s birthday. Looking back on his 93 years, here are 11 lessons (from many) that I would like to share from his legacy, which would help us make a small but positive mark in our society.

1. Have determination in fighting for the right thing. Nelson Mandela fought against apartheid for more than 50 years — from 1943 when he joined ANC to 1994 when South Africa became independent and he became president. Of these years, 27 were in prison.

2. Never sell out on your beliefs. While still serving in prison, Mandela had repeated offers from the apartheid regime to accept release for independence in a small portion of South Africa called the Transkei, from where he hailed. He simply turned them all down.

3. Be ready to change your tactics. In 1960 Nelson Mandela together with other leaders set up the military wing of ANC. After being released from prison in 1990, Mandela would eventually renounce all armed tactics and once again resort to peaceful negotiations.

4. Know the facts. Mandela was an astute lawyer and during his incarceration, his jailers in the 1980s repeatedly attempted to get him to renounce militarism; however he remained adamant in his belief that prisoners cannot enter into contracts – only free men can negotiate.

5. Admit mistakes. In interviews later in life, Mandela admitted that the ANC had committed some human rights abuses and even criticized anyone who attempted to deny it.

6. Reconcile with enemies. Nelson Mandela worked on the setting up the Truth & Reconciliation Commission.

  • 1 of 2

Read more: Global Healing, Inspiration, Make a Difference, News & Issues, Spirit

have you shared this story yet?

go ahead, give it a little love

Megan, selected from The Intelligent Optimist

Ode, the magazine for Intelligent Optimists, is an international independent journal that publishes positive news, about the people and ideas that are changing our world for the better.


+ add your own
9:18AM PST on Jan 15, 2014

Nelson Mandela lives on, long after his death to inspire others. He will be missed by so many.

7:04AM PST on Dec 9, 2012

A great man.

6:10PM PDT on May 14, 2012


3:18PM PDT on Mar 30, 2012

Nelson mandela is one of the greats he is up there with Gandhi, martin Luther king, Dalai Lama,

5:00AM PST on Jan 31, 2012

Thanks for the article.

2:48PM PDT on Aug 17, 2011

What a truly inspiring, wise man.......

1:22AM PDT on Aug 9, 2011

Very interesting! President Mandela is a living legend.

6:42AM PDT on Aug 4, 2011

A real example to follow! Thanks for sharing.

6:41AM PDT on Jul 28, 2011

I would have a lot of things to say about how inspired I have felt, all my life, from Mr Mandela's actions and words, and it would take pages. So, I have to sum it up with: thank you, Nelson Mandela!

5:24AM PDT on Jul 28, 2011


add your comment

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

people are talking

Thank you.

Nothing would surprise me about this company!

Monsanto rates right up there - well, down there, actually - with Big Tobacco in my books. Evil, rog…

Thanks for info...


Select names from your address book   |   Help

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.

site feedback


Problem on this page? Briefly let us know what isn't working for you and we'll try to make it right!