Some of the Best Thoughts (20) of Nelson Mandela and my Interpretation of Them: Lessons for World Leaders
1. Death is something inevitable. When a man has done what he considers to be his duty to his people and his country, he can rest in peace. I think I have made that effort and that, therefore, I will sleep for eternity.
Lessons: Understand that being alive is an opportunity to celebrate the divine within us and therefore the divine in others. The main duty of a human being is to recognize that for dignity and prosperity to be realized, peace should be felt first for it is within us in every breath we take. Then once we know that what is keeping us alive is omnipresence and therefore eternal, we will understand what our duty should be not only for our people and for our country but for everybody else walking on this planet. (Enrique Suarez)
2. If I have to die, I declare to all who want to know that I will meet my fate like a man.
Lessons: Knowing that our real being is eternal if I have to die I declare to all who want to know that I will meet my beautiful fate like a human being and God’s creation. (Enrique Suarez)
3. A critical, independent and investigative press is the lifeblood of any democracy. The press must be free from state interference. You must have the financial capacity to deal with the blandishments of governments. You must have sufficient independence from vested interests to be bold and ask without fear or any preferential treatment. It must enjoy the protection of the Constitution so that it can protect our rights as citizens.
Lessons: In a peaceful and wise society any form of government and laws should serve people’s needs by cultivating creative human talent. (Enrique Suarez)
4. The greatest glory is not falling, but always getting up. Do not judge me by my successes, you judge me for the times I fell and got up again.
Lessons: Enjoy the journey of life for if you do, you will also enjoy the destination. (Enrique Suarez)
5. True leaders must be willing to sacrifice all for the freedom of their people.
Lessons: True leaders must also know themselves so that they can convey the most important message about freedom which is to free ourselves of our own ignorance of who we really are and what our main purpose is on this planet. Then the sacrifices become sweat opportunities to spread the message to others that is, that peace should supersede prosperity and not vice versa for prosperity without peace is chaos. (Enrique Suarez)
6. I like friends who have independent thoughts because they tend to make you see problems from all angles.
Lessons: The way society is organized is due to the actions of people and not to the laws of nature, consequently, these actions can change. History shows a tremendous range of possibilities for human patterns of interaction, and it is this diversity of thought and initiatives properly aligned with a common vision of peace, dignity, and prosperity that will be the real challenge for meaningful social, economic, political, spiritual and environmental transformation. (Enrique Suarez)
Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution (Albert Einstein).
7. No one is born hating another person because of the color of their skin, or their origin or religion.
Lessons: We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies (Martin Luther King, Jr.)
8. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they also can be taught to love, love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.
Lessons: Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that (Martin Luther King, Jr.)
9. I was not born with a hunger to be free; I was born free, free in any way that I can understand.
Lessons: Human beings are born complete and with the intrinsic motivation to do good to themselves and to others. A good education perpetuates these positive human features. (Enrique Suarez)
10. To be free is not just to untie one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.
Lessons: People will never remember how much you know but they'll always remember how you made them feel. (Enrique Suarez)
11. The most powerful weapon is not violence but talking to people.
Lessons: Socrates said, "the unexamined life is not worth living". So for me, knowing yourself first is the most important search that a human being needs to embark for once you know yourself, you will find that real peace and real fulfillment resides within ourselves in every breath we take. And to see what resides inside of us we need a mirror, a method to search within. This is the foundation of all religions. (Enrique Suarez)
12. Education is the most powerful weapon to change the world.
Lessons: The purpose of education is to teach one to think critically. Intelligence plus character and self-knowledge – these are the goals of true education. (Enrique Suarez)
Education must provide the opportunities for self-fulfillment; it can at best provide a rich and challenging environment for the individual to explore, in his own way (Noam Chomsky).
13. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its citizens already in a better position, but by how it treats those who have little or nothing.
Lessons: Albert Einstein used to say "Try to become not a man of success, but try rather to become a man of value." We in the Western world have valued so much material well-being that we have forgotten about whom we really are which has a divine component. In addition, because of this lack of understanding of what a human being is, we interact with others mostly in a transactional as opposed to a relational and transformational way. We need therefore a profound transformation of the individual to learn to value more our similarities than our differences. (Enrique Suarez)
14. If you want to make peace with your enemy, you must work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.
Lessons: I have come to realize that the enemy is us. Therefore, if you want to change what you see in the outside world you have to change what you see inside of you. (Enrique Suarez)
You never need an argument against the use of violence; you need an argument for it (Noam Chomsky).
15. My dearest dream is that of a democratic and free society in which all can live in harmony and with equal opportunities.
Lessons: Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity to try to accomplish the above goal. Likewise, our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter (Martin Luther King, Jr.)
In this possibly terminal phase of human existence, democracy and freedom are more than just ideals to be valued - they may be essential to survival (Noam Chomsky).
16. A good head and a good heart are a formidable combination.
Lessons: An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity (Martin Luther King, Jr.)
17. There cannot be a stronger revelation of a society's soul than the way it treats its children.
Lessons: A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom (Martin Luther King, Jr.)
18. The hardest thing is not to change society but to change ourselves.
Lessons: I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality... I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word (Martin Luther King, Jr.)
19. If you expect the ideal conditions, it will never come.
Lessons: History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people (Martin Luther King, Jr.)
20. When the water began to boil, putting out the fire is useless.
Lessons: He who looks to satisfy his mortal needs loses his soul; he who seeks to satisfy his soul gets all his/her needs satisfied. (Enrique Suarez)