MANDELA’S WAY ~ Lesson No. 1


This is my first of 15 posts , in which I reflect on the book MANDELA'S WAY and share extracts from his writings . This is in honour of Madiba's 93rd birthday which he celebrated on 18 July 2011 .

EXTRACT : "Mandela himself defines courage in a curious way . He does not see it as innate , or as a kind of elixir we can drink , or learned in any conventional way . He sees it as the way we "choose" to be . None of us is born courageous , he would say ; it is all in how we react to different situations ."

I would never have imagined that the concept of courage could actually co-exist with the concept of fear  . To me this means that , the brave person is the one who has "chosen" to manage his fears – he is not without fear , but has simply learned how to deal with it ! It's a great idea to place the two side by side , since we tend to place the two into seperate compartments and label someone as either brave or cowardly .

This is a strange way of looking at it , but seems to make sense when I think of how terrified I was at the thought of posting my writing on a blog for public consumption ! What if nobody read my stuff ? What if people laughed at my writing ? Was it "good enough" ? These thoughts/fears ran through my mind … and now I feel that even if people don't read it or feel that it's not good enough , it doesn't really matter to me . Yes , I'm human and still feel anxious from time to time but I've "chosen" to deal with it – and every one is entitled to his/her opinion/likes/dislikes …

But exposing your writing for everybody to read is hardly life-threatening . What about the person who finds himself in a situation that is a matter of life or death ? That is an entirely different story … do any readers have thoughts to share ?


  1. bluebell books on July 20, 2011 at 12:00 am

    awesome view on the work.
    love your taste on fiction wriitng…keep it up.

    • mish on July 20, 2011 at 12:44 pm

      Thanks Bluebell … these are amazing lessons !

  2. Beverly Diehl on July 20, 2011 at 12:39 am

    I think there are a lot of mental "muscles," for lack of a better term, that get built up over time.  Courage – the more brave things you do, the easier it becomes to do them.  EVen if you fail sometimes, other times, you succeed.
    And the only way to become a better writer is to write.  So, keep going, keep going  🙂

    • mish on July 20, 2011 at 12:47 pm

      I agree that the trick is to keep going … keep challenging those “mental muscles” … perseverance is the keyword here … thanks for the words of encouragement ! 🙂

  3. lolamouse on July 20, 2011 at 6:55 pm

    So true! I once read that courage is not the absence  of fear but the willingness to proceed in spite of it.

    • mish on July 21, 2011 at 6:17 am

      It’s probably a gradual process that happens over a period of time – you do it once , twice … and then it becomes a bit easier to proceed even though the fear is still there – thanks for the contribution .

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