5 Resilience Traits We Can All Learn From Nelson Mandela

And while most of us won’t face close to the challenges that Mandela himself faced and endured, we all face struggles and stressors of our own, some minor and some major, all of which call into question our own powers to cope. How is it that a man can emerge from 27 years of imprisonment so able to continue to effect change, and to do so with love and forgiveness in his heart? I’m particularly intrigued by the perfect portrait of key traits of resilience that Mandela’s actions and life exemplify. In my work helping people develop the skills they need to become more resilient to the stressors and pressures of their lives there a several key traits that consistently move the needle in our ability to bear up under stress in a sustainable way and Nelson Mandela mastered them all: Emotion Regulation. Mandela’s ability to keep his emotions under his control no doubt served him throughout his life. Not that he didn’t have emotions or just ignored them; he was human, after all. But he had a stunning “absence of rancor” as Bill Keller described it in the New York Times . If he had let his emotions fester and spoil for all those years in prison, they would have likely gotten the best of him — and he would have left Robben Island a bitter, angry man. Which is not the Nelson Mandela we knew and loved.
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South Africa begins life without Nelson Mandela

Floral tributes to former president Nelson Mandela, pile up beneath a statue of Mandela on Mandela Square at Sandton City, in Johannesburg Friday, Dec. 6, 2013. Mandela died Thursday at his Johannesburg home after a long illness. He was 95. (AP Photo/Athol Moralee)

In a packed room, the worlds assembly expressed its collective sympathy to the Mandela family, the people and the Government of South Africa by honouring what the President of the General Assembly called a glorious life. President of the General Assembly, John Ashe says: Call to order the special meeting of the General Assembly dedicated to the life and memory of his Excellency Nelson Mandela. The world continues to pay tribute to Madiba. Every nation acknowledging the reach and impact of a life lost but a legacy secured. Ashe says: Let us honour Nelson Mandela by letting his legacy live on and our continuing struggle against poverty, injustice and the destruction of the human person and human spirit, and by setting an example for our children and our childrens children that allows them to see and emulate the best virtues which reside within members of the human family. In one of his many tributes, UN Chief Ban Ki-moon reflected on his recent visit to South Africa and the memorial in Johannesburg. There were kings and queens, presidents and prime ministers and foreign ministers, man thousands, tens of thousands of people united in tribute. The skies over Soweto opened up as if in blessing. The rain came down all day long. It was a reminder that there can be no rainbow without rain. So together, in Nelson Mandelas rainbow nation, we mourned a tragic loss and celebrated a triumphant life. Imagine if Nelson Mandela


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