MANDELA’S WAY ~ Lesson No. 5


This is the fifth post in this series of 15 lessons taken from the book MANDELA'S WAY written by Richard Stengel .

EXTRACT : " We strive to judge people by the content of their character , but Nelson Mandela understood that sometimes the best way to help others see your character is by how you appear . All his life , Mandela was concerned with how things looked – from the colour of his shirt to the way a policy appeared to his supporters to how straight he stood . He would never tell anyone not to judge a book by its cover , because he knows we all do . Although he is a man of substance , he would say that it makes no sense not to judge by appearances . Appearances matter , and we have only one chance to make a first impression .

Mandela loves clothes . He always has . He would not say that clothes make the man , but they do make an instant impression . His view is that if you want to play the part , you have to wear the right costume . Just as pretending to be brave can become real courage (lesson 1) , we may find that outfitting ourselves as the person we want to be brings us closer to becoming that person . Throughout his life , Mandela always looked – and played – the part .

Long before the existence of blogs and social networking sites , Mandela understood that images endure and that their power to help or hurt you was indelible . All his life , he cultivated and curated images of himself . He helped orchestrate those he wanted to symbolize him and avoided those that would create an impression he did not want ."

This particular lesson made me wonder about blogs , and blog appearance as opposed to blog content . How important is blog image ? In the writing blogosphere , is the first impression of a  blog an important factor in determining whether a fellow writer is more likely to peruse its contents ? What about aspects such as design/layout/visibility of awards & badges/slogan/logo … how important are these ? Or do most writers go to the heart of the blog … the writing content ? Are there any noticeable trends in this regard ? What is your opinion ?


  1. Shelly on August 11, 2011 at 1:07 am

    I like things to be simple. If a blog is too busy or has too many things to download, I leave.

    • mish on August 11, 2011 at 12:38 pm

      I have a slooow computer and if I have to download , it takes forever … so it’s difficult , for me , if a blog has lots of downloadable thingiemajiggies … my computer needs a change of software ? Or is it hardware ? I dunno … 🙂

  2. JamieDedes on August 11, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    Mish, I love your welcome. It's spot on as our British friends would say.  
    I'm on the "run" today … will be back to read more ….

    • mish on August 11, 2011 at 6:14 pm

      Cool … enjoy the rest of your day on the “run” … catch you later …

  3. Blaga on August 11, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    To me it matters first the content, but of course I pay attention and on the decoration. But whatever the desing, folowing or not my taste, from the colors and the images you can always learn a bit moer about the owner! 

    • mish on August 11, 2011 at 7:02 pm

      I suppose that the “whole package” is important ! And the images/colours/graphics do give an idea of what the blogger is all about . Thanks for sharing Blaga .

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