56 Nelson Mandela Quotes That Are True Words Of Wisdom

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A list of the best Nelson Mandela quotes to celebrate Mandela Day.

As the first president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela has led his people to liberty and freedom.

While mostly known as the fighter for human rights and freedom, Nelson Mandela has inspired generations after generations with his wisdom and determination.

He has not only taken the world on the long walk to freedom but also sheds light on the importance of education, overcoming fear and how to achieve life success. 

Though he passed away years ago, Nelson Mandela has left a remarkable legacy for humanity. Thus each year on July 18th, his birthday, we celebrate this great soul and his contribution. It has become the Nelson Mandela International Day since 2010.

This year is no different.

“To be the best, learn from the best.” Here are 56 inspiring Nelson Mandela quotes about life, success, education, fear, and leadership. 


56 Inspiring Quotes From Nelson Mandela


Table Of Content


25 Most Famous Nelson Mandela Quotes


A quote about being in charge of your life and soul

I am the captain of my soul.

I am the captain of my soul.-inspiring-Nelson-Mandela-quotes-OurMindfulLife.com-1


A quote about chasing your dream

A winner is a dreamer who never gives up.-inspiring-Nelson-Mandela-quotes-OurMindfulLife.com-2

A winner is a dreamer who never gives up.


Self-acceptance and self-awareness come first

The first thing is to be honest with yourself.

Read also: 23 self-interview questions to know yourself better

A motivational quote to conquer self-doubts

It always seems impossible until it's done.-inspiring-Nelson-Mandela-quotes-OurMindfulLife.com-2-1
It always seems impossible until it’s done.

Read also: 5 inspirational fighting self-doubts quotes for your lock screen

As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

Nothing is black or white.

Difficulties break some men but make others.

Difficulties break some men but make others. -inspiring-Nelson-Mandela-quotes-OurMindfulLife.com-3


Always trust in the good

Deep down in every human heart, there is mercy and generosity.

Let your courage rise with danger.

I am not an optimist, but a great believer of hope.-inspiring-Nelson-Mandela-quotes-OurMindfulLife.com-4
I am not an optimist, but a great believer of hope.


A Nelson Mandela quote that sums up his life

In my country we go to prison first and then become President. -inspiring-Nelson-Mandela-quotes-OurMindfulLife.com_

In my country we go to prison first and then become President.

Live life as though nobody is watching.

Live life as though nobody is watching.- inspiring-Nelson-Mandela-quotes-OurMindfulLife.com-5


Believing is the first step of making it happen

One cannot be prepared for something while secretly believing it will not happen.-inspiring-Nelson-Mandela-quotes-OurMindfulLife.com-6

One cannot be prepared for something while secretly believing it will not happen.


When you have a strong soul, you have the most powerful weapon

No axe is sharp enough to cut the soul of a sinner who keeps on trying.


An inspiring quote finding the “WHY”

Everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success if they are dedicated to and passionate about what they do.


A quote that pulls you out from the victim mentality

I AM THE MASTER OF MY FATE. - inspiring-Nelson-Mandela-quotes-OurMindfulLife.com-7
I AM THE MASTER OF MY FATE.

The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.


If your dreams are not crazy, they aren’t good enough

It is not where you start but how high you aim that matters for success.

I would not and could not give myself up to despair.

If you are still breathing, you have a chance to turn things around.


Failing is part of growth

I never lose. I either win or learn.- inspiring-Nelson-Mandela-quotes-OurMindfulLife.com-8

I never lose. I either win or learn.


You are free by setting others free

For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.

When we can sit in the face of insanity or dislikes and be free from the need to make it different, then we are free.


A smile is the best makeup one will ever have

Appearances matter — and remember to smile.-inspiring-Nelson-Mandela-quotes-OurMindfulLife.com-9
Appearances matter — and remember to smile.

Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward.

Once a person is determined to help themselves, there is nothing that can stop them.


6 Nelson Mandela’s quotes about fear


An impactful quote about life choices

May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears. - inspiring-Nelson-Mandela-quotes-OurMindfulLife.com-10

May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.

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.-inspiring-Nelson-Mandela-quotes-OurMindfulLife.com-11

The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.

Those who conduct themselves with morality, integrity and consistency need not fear the forces of inhumanity and cruelty.

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.

If I had my time over I would do the same again. So would any man who dares call himself a man.-inspiring-Nelson-Mandela-quotes-OurMindfulLife.com-12

If I had my time over I would do the same again. So would any man who dares call himself a man.


6 Nelson Mandela’s quotes about forgiveness

People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.- inspiring-Nelson-Mandela-quotes-OurMindfulLife.com-13

People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.

Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.-inspiring-Nelson-Mandela-quotes-OurMindfulLife.com-14

Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.

As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.

Nelson Mandela was put behind the bars for over 18 years for fighting for his beliefs. But he didn’t leave the prison holding a grudge.

He was able to forgive the wrongdoings on him and invested his energy into something bigger: the freedom of his people.

No one is born hating another person.

We forgive but not forgotten.

Courageous people do not fear forgiving, for the sake of peace.


8 Nelson Mandela’s quotes about education

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.

YOU can be that great generation.

The youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow.

We should learn from both pleasant and unpleasant experiences.

Not a day goes by when I don’t read every newspaper I can lay my hands on, wherever I am.

Education is the great engine of personal development.

A good head and good heart are always a formidable combination. But when you add to that a literate tongue or pen, then you have something very special.

It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another.


11 Nelson Mandela’s quotes about leadership

Lead from the back — and let others believe they are in front.

After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.

As a leader, one must sometimes take actions that are unpopular.

Like the gardener, a leader must take responsibility for what he cultivates; he must mind his work, try to repel enemies, preserve what can be preserved, and eliminate what cannot succeed.

There can be no greater gift than that of giving one’s time and energy to help others without expecting anything in return.

Until I changed myself, I could not change others.
Until I changed myself, I could not change others - inspiring-Nelson-Mandela-quotes-OurMindfulLife.com-15


A Nelson Mandela quote about how to be a leader

If you want the cooperation of humans around you, you must make them feel they are important – and you do that by being genuine and humble.


Nelson Mandela leadership quote about dealing with differences

A good leader can engage in a debate frankly and thoroughly, knowing that at the end he and the other side must be closer, and thus emerge stronger.

It is so easy to break down and destroy. The heroes are those who make peace and build.

It is wise to persuade people to do things and make them think it was their own idea-inspiring-Nelson-Mandela-quotes-OurMindfulLife.com-16

It is wise to persuade people to do things and make them think it was their own idea.

Real leaders must be ready to sacrifice all for the freedom of their people.


So there you have it. I hope these awesome Nelson Mandela quotes help make a difference in your day.

Which quote by Nelson Mandela resonates with you the most? Leave a comment down below!

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