Nelson Mandela and Self-actualization — the need to be good, to be fully alive and to find meaning in life

Public Interest words of wisdom from Nelson Mandela.

By G. Tina Wolridge

Nelson Mandela

In December 2013, we lost a great man by the name of Nelson Mandela. He was the first black president of South Africa and a Nobel Prize recipient. He was treasured by many and affected millions of lives.  

He was imprisoned for more than 27 years, and throughout his turmoil he was selfless and continued to think about the needs of others. His sustained drive to help others was amazing. The Public Interest Directorate wants to take a moment to reflect on some of his wisdom and insights: 

"No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. 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."

“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 lays defeat and death.”

“Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”

“Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity; it is an act of justice. Like Slavery and Apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings.”