While imprisoned at Robben Island, Nelson Mandela used to keep his courage up by reading William Ernest Henley's "Invictus" to his fellow prisoners.
The poem begins, “Out of the night that covers me./Black as the Pit from pole to pole./I thank whatever gods may be. /For my unconquerable soul.”
This week I’m feeling thankful for Mandela’s "unconquerable soul" I’m not alone. All over the world memorials have been set up for the world leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner who died this week at age 95.
Mandela was a person I admired not only for his work to abolish Apartheid, but as a individual who spent 27 years in prison and did not lose his head. How did do that--and how can we be more like that?
Even while sentenced to hard labor, Mandela kept himself focused on bigger issues. He focused on people and peace and forgiveness.
That’s the way I think all people who work and live for the greater good must be—including those of us living a military life. Here is a collection of Nelson Mandela quotes that may inspire you and your servicemember to keep focused on all that really matters.
“A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.”
“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.”
“When people are determined, they can overcome anything.”
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
“You know, you can only lead them from behind.”
“There is no passion to be found playing small—in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.
“We must use time wisely and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right.”
“Let freedom reign. The sun never set on so glorious a human achievement.”
We don’t often get a leader like Nelson Mandala among us. Honor his life by remembering his words and living by them.