The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear – Nelson Mandela
When Mandela was born in 1918, no one would have said he was destined for greatness. He rose to great heights of power because he refused to descend to the small thinking of so many around him. He became one of the greatest men of our times not because of where he was born, or how he was treated, but because of the way he chose to respond to the forces of hatred and bigotry.
Our struggles may shape us, but never define us
Mandela’s life story is one of overcoming adversity and embracing challenges that seemed to many to be both unsolvable and insurmountable. He showed us that mastery of life is not an absence of problems, but of the mastery of problems. Certainly he had his share. The way he chose to respond to the injustice of apartheid, and brutality of those who propped it up, showed the world that life may be hard, but we do not have to grow hard because of it; that while we may not choose our circumstances, we always have a choice in whether or not we succumb to self-pity, victimhood and despair. Indeed, he taught us about the resilience of the human spirit in the face of heartache and hardship, and the possibilities that can emerge when we choose to focus on what we can do, versus what we can’t.