The Rhapsodical

Case Study: Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela was born on 18 July 1918 to a tribal chief in Mvezo, Cape Province, Union of South Africa.  Rolihlahla was the name given to him by his father. He started his education at the age of 7, and was given his name Nelson by his teacher. He achieved the dream of equality for all South Africans, and became the first Black President of South Africa in 1994. He is one of the symbols of global peacemaking and won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.

Case Study: Leadership – Nelson Mandela

Every country has their own sets of known leaders. However, Nelson Mandela is universally regarded as one of the most fierce leaders of all times. He united Africa, spoke the language of human rights and laws, and had an utmost confidence in himself. When Mandela was released from jail after a 27 year imprisonment, he was asked how he survived spending the 27 years in jail. His reply was, in a strong bold voice, “I wasn’t surviving, I was preparing”. Let us examine what traits he had that made him a great leader.

Always The Last To speak

When asked how he is such a great leader, he responded that it all started with the tribe meetings that he would attend with his father. His father was a tribal chief. He recollected that during the tribal discussions, everyone sat in a circle, and being a tribal chief, his father was the last to speak.  He recollected what he learnt, to keep your opinions to yourself until everyone has given theirs.

He said that he learnt, his father heard everyone’s opinions, not nodding or speaking anything until everyone had spoken. This helps us realize that, it is better to be the one who is the last to speak, rather than be a good listener. How does this work? It makes the others feel heard. It also helps you understand the mentality and opinions of others better. Stating, “My opinion is to do this, but am also interested in hearing your opinion”, already ends the discussion in a negative way. It is already late as you have stated your opinion. You should be the last one to state an opinion. This may seem an easy thing to do, but it surely needs a lot of practice. It is a skill of the great leaders, and even the most successful people don’t really do this well. Even nodding if you agree with an opinion results in discouragement among others who have different opinions. He asked questions to understand the mentality of the other people, and to make them feel heard.

Keep your opinions to yourself, until everyone has shared theirs. 

You Have A Limited Time

In his interview, he insisted that people should utilize their time in transforming the country, the world they live in as to what they desire it to be. He said that people have a limited time on earth, and this gives us the message that we are not always going to stick around. People have one life, they live it the way everyone else lives it. They work for a college degree, they then settle for a minimum wage at a 9 to 5, spend their lives in all the little things that don’t matter.

People forget that they have one life, and they only realize it this at the end of their lives, on their deathbeds. What I would suggest anyone who is reading this, follow your passion and your dreams, even if it seems impossible to you, you have to make it possible, or die trying, as your happiness depends on it. Most people are just scared of the opinions of the other people. I would suggest you to read this article – What Is Your Vision? , for understanding why following your vision is so important, and how to follow it going against any and everyone in your way.

Don't Waste Your Time, You Have A Limited Time On Earth To Do Your Thing.

Don’t Worry About Labels

Nelson had this philosophy – it doesn’t matter if the cat is black or white as long as it can catch the mice. Nelson Mandela taught us why not caring about labels is important.

Don’t worry about the labels you will get in the journey to success. If you feel you would, or are struggling with issues of believing and having a confidence in yourself,  I strongly suggest you to give a read to this article now – Believe In Yourself When No One Does.

People who aren’t really pursuing their life of happiness, are always going to label you with what they fit. You have to carry forward without caring about what the world has to say about you. You have to disintegrate opinions of those older, or maybe younger than you, which tend to stop you. You have to have an unbeatable conviction and confidence in your work, which will be the source of your motivation.

Believe In Yourself, Don't Care What The World Has To Say About You.

Be Humble

You Cannot Have An Impact on The Society, if You Don’t Change Yourself. ~Nelson Mandela

One of the amazing things we learn from Nelson Mandela is his quality of humbleness. Even though being a great leader, and a great achiever, he always remained humble of his path.

He preached the philosophy, the people will embrace you when they feel you aren’t against them. It only happens when they realize, you are helping them achieve peace. You have to treat the janitor the same way you are going the treat your managers. You have to learn how to have humility. The positions you hold are just positions, you are respected for your positions, but all we deserve is the same dignity as a homeless person. That is how humility is formed.

This was the case study on one of the greatest leader of all times, Nelson Mandela. What we get to take away is,

  • Be The Last One To Speak
  • Utilize Your Life, and Your Time
  • Don’t Worry About Being Judged
  • Be Humble

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. ~ Nelson Mandela

For a better and more detailed information on Nelson Mandela I would strongly request you to purchase this powerful book on his life, Nelson Mandela: A Biography.  It has the shortest details about his life that will help you become a great leader, and teach you everything that isn’t possible to mention in the posts.



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