Nelson Mandela died today, December 5, 2013, at age 95. I greatly admired this activist, Nobel Peace Prize winner and former president of South Africa.

Some provocative quotes from Mr. Mandela:

  • “Difficulties break some men but make others. No axe is sharp enough to cut the soul of a sinner who keeps on trying, one armed with the hope that he will rise even in the end.”

 

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

 

  • “I learned that 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.”

 

  • Do not judge me by my successes. Judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.

While Mr. Mandela was very quotable, I admired him for his steadfastness most of all. He seemed not to waver from his mission: to make a difference in South Africa; to stand up for freedom and equality.

Those goals sound almost corny in a narcissistic world. The idea of living for others and giving one’s life to a cause is almost foreign to us.

I am indicted by Mandela. It is not too late for any of us who have breath in our bodies.

Let us rise and say that there is something for which we would live…and die.

Thank you, Nelson Mandela. For a long time, your life will stand as a bookmark and reminder for me.