Memo From Michael: Nelson Mandela’s Inspiring Example

“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.”
— Nelson Mandela, at Walter Sisulu’s 90th birthday celebration, Johannesburg, May 18, 2002

I am impressed and deeply moved by the universal wall-to-wall coverage of the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela. He was a man of immense stature and influence. What’s important is that he was a very human man with strong passions who had used and was willing to use violence to advance his cause but he was so dedicated and disciplined that he made the choice to repress his resentment and anger in favor of forgiveness. It was a brilliant political strategy but also a mark of great character.

Nelson Mandela, a great teacher and leader, provided perhaps the most extraordinary and inspiring example of moral courage of our time. Released after 27 years as a political prisoner, he led South Africa to emancipation from its entrenched system of white minority rule and became its first black — and first democratically elected — president.

What strength of character he had, taking the high road of reconciliation and renewal, of dignity and grace, when it would have been so easy to indulge baser instincts like revenge, contempt, violence, and hate.

Click below to see and hear him demonstrate his inspirational and transformational leadership in ten select videos from various times in this great man’s life (courtesy of

Michael Josephson turns 71 on December 10th. Please send him your personal greetings at and make a tax-deductible donation to the Josephson Institute in gratitude for his work at

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