President Bill Clinton tells a little known story about Nelson Mandela

July 9, 2008

This week President Clinton met with a small group at the Aspen Ideas Festival. He shared with the group why he holds Nelson Mandela in such high esteem. Nelson Mandela, when set free after spending a third of his life imprisoned, took  one last walk around the prison grounds February 11th, 1990 before he left. The walk for him was to let go of his hatred of those who had imprisoned him. He knew he could not walk through those gates with this anger or his hatred would hold him prisoner for the rest of his life.

Many people know that when he celebrated his freedom he invited the guards that watched over him to the celebration. What many don’t know is that as he rose to power he put those that imprisoned him on his cabinet. He knew it was the only way to bring the country together. This reminded me of Lincoln’s decision to put together his team of rivals when he was elected to office.
Do you have the capacity to let go of those hateful feelings towards those who have hurt you? Do you have the emotional strength to put people close to you who have strongly opposing views? How would you measure your courage to face such adversaries in such a positive light?

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