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What entrepreneurs should learn from Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela is leaving behind the lessons he learned in life, especially those that entrepreneurs could relate to
By James Humarang |
What entrepreneurs should learn from Nelson Mandela
<>Nelson Mandela--the icon of hope, perseverance, and democracy in Africa--has succumbed to his fierce fight against lung infection. He was 95. He is no stranger to battles as he was once imprisoned for more than 27 years prior to his assumption to office as the first black President in South Africa, which is ironically a predominantly black country.

After gaining his freedom from imprisonment, he had come out to the world to share the significant lessons in leadership that he acquired through numerous years of political struggles.

Mandela lived his life the way every successful entrepreneurs should do. Just like a fountain of hope to humanity, he had always believed that the world, as we know it today, could always be better if we act to improve it. He had called all nations, not just his fellowmen, to never give up on that goal.

The book "Mandela’s Way: Fifteen Lessons on Life, Love and Courage" presents the most important lessons in life that he acquired and has been aiming to share to humankind. Interestingly, some of those are applicable to modern entrepreneurs. Here are those inspiring insights:

Courage comes with fear

Mandela admitted that during the height of his political battle, he was naturally afraid. He recalled that he was hesitant in pretending to be the symbol of courage. But he decided then that he can’t let it get obvious because of fear that his people might also be discouraged to see their leader shatter. Entrepreneurs, as leaders, should also observe that principle. They have to be brave even while facing adversity. At the same time, they should also recognize their fears.

Observing a core principle

Entrepreneurs will always face different challenges. Sometimes, it just becomes difficult for them to go on. To get the drive to keep on going, they have to set achievable goals and focus to realize those. It may be harder to go forward without knowing which direction or path to take.

Leaders can also quit

Entrepreneurs are constantly facing uncertainties because things can go out of their control. It is always a tough decision to abandon an idea to be spared from further or massive losses. But it should be done, when necessary, especially when it is the most logical option left.

‘More hills to climb’

For Mandela, climbing up one great hill exposes him to the idea (and the reality) that there are still many more hills he can see from up there that he must eventually climb. For the entrepreneurs, success in one business endeavor should open their eyes to many other promising opportunities. It helps to aim climbing one hill at a time and to keep on going for further growth.

Find a garden

With all the stress that Mandela experienced in his long life, you might wonder, how was he able to overcome it all? His secret was simple: he kept and maintained his own vegetable garden. The hobby became an outlet for letting out the pressure. Logically, it was also a beneficial pastime as he became more inclined to observe healthier diet. The lesson for entrepreneurs: find a diversion that will somehow prevent you from being swallowed by work.


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