5 Legendary Life Events of Nelson Mandela That’ll Make You a Better Businessman

Image by: Ted Eytan
By Don Williams

When you think of great men, you think of men with exceptional qualities. These qualities make great businessmen as well as statesmen. The most important qualities, among others, are intelligence, persistence, patience, charisma, audacity, integrity and leadership.

If you learn about the way Mandela lived his life and apply some of those features to your own life, you’re bound to reap rewards, financially, socially and otherwise. We’ll outline some examples of his life and how they matter for you and your business.

Life Event #1: Spent 27 Years In Prison

Details: Mandela was incarcerated for 27 years because he was fighting for equality. Some crime, eh? Astoundingly, even in jail, he remained a symbol of freedom for his supporters.

What It Means For You: Talk about patience! While we don’t suggest waiting 27 years for your business to take off, we do like to point out Mandela’s patience. Yes, sometimes you need to take massive action and get stuff done, but other times it is crucially necessary to have patience when fighting for something you believe in.

Did the great generals of history just attack their enemies 24/7? No… there were many variables at play, and they attacked only with calculated measures. So have patience when dealing with your most prized ideas, know when to strike and know when to sit back.

Life Event #2: Considered A Terrorist By The US Up Until 2008

Details: Mandela was considered a terrorist for 20 years, even after he was let out of jail and fairly elected the president of South Africa. Even more astounding was that 9 years passed after he left power, and he was still considered a terrorist by the US!

What It Means For You: Haters gunna hate. Let ‘em. There are 7+ billion people in the world today, and you certainly can’t please them all. Focus on your target market, and cater to them. The best businesses in the world don’t need more than 1% of the population in their geographical area to thrive. That’s 99 no’s to 1 yes. Persistence rewards those who hustle.

While working, turn off your TV, Twitter, girlfriend and the rest, and focus on your craft. This way, your mind can sharply focus in on your business, and you won’t hear all the conflicting chatter around you. And you know – there’s A LOT of chatter out there today.

Life Event #3: Fairly Elected President In First Democratic Election

Details: After being let out of prison, Mandela was freely and democratically elected the first president of South Africa. Mandela lived his word, and he gained followers through his action, thus leading to his election success.

What It Means For You: Sometimes delayed gratification is the way we’re rewarded for our efforts. Being your word and taking action is what people respond well to. Nobody responds favorably to their leader who seemingly does nothing and only dishes out demands. So be bold, and take action.

If you do this, your team will see you talking and tweeting less and being an example of exceptional qualities more, which will lead them to unconsciously work harder for you.

Life Event #4: Inspired And Motivated An Entire Country To Work Together

Details: Through being a great communicator and charismatic leader, Mandela somehow united the badly scarred country overcoming incredible odds. He didn’t prescribe to a certain ideology or belief system other than his hope of a peaceful, equitable and united South Africa.

What It Means For You: You may or may not be a great communicator or have magical charisma. Most say charisma is an ability one is born with. But communication is definitely a learned skill, and there are plenty of ways to become better at it, if you’re willing to try. If you’re willing to go all-in, try Toastmasters. If you want more of a private option, you have the internet ala-cart to find a course, video series, e-book or website. Emulate Mandela, become a master communicator and have a stronger influence in your business.

Life Event #5: The Entire World Grieved Over His Death

Details: Nelson Mandela passed away on December 5th, 2013. The amount of people who appreciated this amazing man is most likely in the billions. He had over 250 prestigious awards given to him by several organizations, including a Nobel Peace Prize.

What It Means For You: While we all aren’t known by our work by billions of people, there’s no reason why we can’t strive to reach that many. In today’s hyper connected world, in a way, it’d be easier. One thing remains throughout time though, which is the excellence this man lived. Strive to make yourself better, to reach for a better world, and you’ll undoubtedly become a better businessman and human all at the same time.