The Mandela Way of Life is What we need.

Nelson Mandela is the first black president of South Africa. But that’s just a Wikipedia fact. What we should think about Mandela is how well he lived his life, how he could heal his hating heart and how he faced his fears despite life’s gruelling setbacks and a prison term that would crush him and throw his dreams into an impossible pit.

His “Long Walk to Freedom” teaches how to be optimistic, how we learn to hate others, how a nation should act, and how to lit the kindness flame that burns in all our hearts. His life is a valuable book that one can learn if one opens the mind a bit. Here are the seeds that I value—

  • 1)Courage and Fear are twins.

One fundamental error in our thinking is that we assume being courageous means no fear and show a spartan face. But that’s far from true. Courage is coping with fear and waging a constant battle which we never win but only make a sound peace with it.

It’s an honourable pledge that we take. Yet we cannot defeat. The example is the man himself we’re talking out. When Mandela was flying on a plane. The engine failed and everyone was in panic mode. His bodyguards were running around with fear. But Mandela was reading a newspaper with courage. But here’s the thing Mandela after the emergency landing admitted that there was a fear but he merely did not show it.

This shows that being courageous is a choice that we need to make and can never defeat like a big Hercules.

“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear—Mark Twain.”

  • 2)Contradictions define life.

We never get
Either this or that
But
A choice hanging
In between.
We never get
Neither this nor that
But
A paradox moving
Up and down.
We never get
A personality or
An individuality
But
A docile identity
Buttered by both.
We never get
Kinky morals or
Dinky ethics
But
A badly blossomed conscience
Or deeply twirled dilemmas.
We never get
A hulky heart
or
A bony brain
But
Just a sad belly.
Ah—
Black or white?
I wish it were that simple.

—No black and white

This is a poem I wrote a while back that captures the idea well. Life is neither black nor white but grey. We need to accept the contradictions, the ifs and buts, and tread along.

Nations accept this. For example, it cannot follow ruthless capitalism nor ruthless socialism. And balance traditions and modernity, which Mandela did in treating AIDS in his country.

Life is an ethical dilemma with not a yes or no. But a yes-no. No wonder, Soren Kierkegaard remarked—

“I see it all perfectly; there are two possible situations — one can either do this or that. My honest opinion and my friendly advice is this: do it or do not do it — you will regret both.”

  • 3)A literate tongue or pen matters a lot.

We Know the famous quote of Mandela—
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

But the idea of Mandela is much more than that. Education brings out the best in you. It’s the best weapon we can use to battle against the raging hate in our hearts and purify ourselves.

That’s why he inspired many prisoners to read and as they say— He turned the cell blocks to study halls and made Robben Island a university.

And education, Mandela believed, save democracies, protect the rights of people and tames unethical leadership of so-called good men and women. As hatred of immigrants, blacks and the vulnerable are on the rise and people easily falling prey to a demagogue, education is the stick to control it.

and about education and personal development, here’s what Mandela says—

“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 farm workers 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.”

Pick out that book on the kindle or if you prefer the old way, then the shelf.
I will go for— The Second Mountain by David brooks.


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