The world has lost a great man yesterday- but one is never gone when his words and thoughts will leave a lasting impression, not only in his time for for generations to come.

Nelson Mandela championed equality and peace along with anti-apartheid practices in South Africa, at a time when doing so meant personal hardships.  Yet despite harsh conditions heaped upon him, Mr. Mandela’s spirit was never broken.  Instead, he inspired others.  He graduated law school and stood for those who could not defend himself. He fought for injustice with every fiber of his being, in whatever ways he could.

Nelson Mandela showed us what “living up to being really human” can be, not just by being the first black president or a recipient of the Congressional Gold Medal (which are incredible feats), but by elevating a country and the spirits of others along with himself, in the face of adversity.

And so I leave you with his words of wisdom that resonate not only with a nation but for all through the ages.

On leadership:

“A like a shepherd. He stays behind the flock, letting the most nimble go out ahead, whereupon the others follow, not realizing that all along they are being directed from behind.”

On attitude:

“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.”

“Appearances matter–and remember to smile.”

On righteousness:

“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.  Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great.  YOU can be that great generation.  Let your greatness blossom.”

“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 lover, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

On responsibility:

“It is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails.  A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones.”

“I have walked that long road to freedom.  I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way.  But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.  I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come.  But I can only rest for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not ended.”

On philosophy:

“Where you stand depends on where you sit.”

“Courage is not the absence of fear- it is inspiring others to move beyond it.”

And so you do inspire others Mr. Mandela.  For your words as you represented peace, love and equality, will have an incredible impact far and wide for generations to come. When you are remembered, you have never truly died.

As we pay tribute to this great man, Share other inspirational quotes or how your life has been touched by Nelson Mandela in the comment box below.