Nelson Mandela: His Life Was His Message

"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." -- Nelson Mandela

As the world mourns the passing of Nelson Mandela and honors the extraordinary legacy of his extraordinary life, the message that it shared -- of courage, resilience, forgiveness and commitment to a cause bigger than oneself -- has no less relevance for each of us today than it had during the height of the apartheid era.

When Mandela was born in 1918, no one would have said he was destined for greatness. He rose to great heights of power because he refused to descend to the small thinking of so many around him. He became one of the greatest men of our times not because of where he was born, or how he was treated, but because of the way he chose to respond to the forces of hatred and bigotry.

Our struggles may shape us, but never define us