Son, father, prisoner, peacekeeper, leader and hero – Nelson Mandela. As I think about the many roles he has taken throughout his life, I think of what a truly amazing, gifted and humble spirit he was; and whilst it saddens me that we must now bid farewell to one of the most incredible minds of our time, I am reassured by the outpour I have seen from the world that he will live on in the hearts of millions for generations to come.

It is with sheer irony that within the pages of my upcoming book 'Leadership is Upside Down' I have dedicated many words to his brilliance as both a leader and fascinating mind and looked upon the influence he has had on shaping our future, and with this I would like to share with you an excerpt from the text in his honour:

I took some time to reflect on what kind of leader he had been in his lifetime - one of the most admired in the world.

I am convinced he has a beautiful and balanced brain.

A brain that has allowed him to adapt to unexpected circumstances and to maintain serenity in moments of distress and chaos.

A brain that has probably enjoyed more optimistic than pessimistic thoughts, and that has remained focused on his main purpose despite all the obstacles along the way.

Mandela came out of prison speaking about forgiveness and reconciliation. He was able to manage his mind and keep it focused on how to help South Africa get out of the apartheid system of racial segregation.

I only wish brain imaging technology had been available at the time of Mandela’s imprisonment and subsequent release. We may then have had the opportunity to learn and understand what happened to this unique brain of his.

As I write, an interview on television depicts a 12-year-old South African boy who talks passionately about “Madiba” (Mandela’s nickname in his native tribe’s language), describing what he thinks of him.

"He is a great leader," the boy said

"He cares about people and I love him.”

To his family, friends, colleagues, country and the world – my thoughts and condolences are with you as together we mourn the passing of a truly great man.

R.I.P. Nelson Mandela (1918 – 2013).

Originally posted on: 7 December 2013
Last updated on: 25 May 2024
Silvia Damiano

Silvia Damiano

Founder & CEO
About my Brain Institute

Scientist, educator, author, speaker, coach, award-winning leadership specialist, filmmaker and creator of the i4 Neuroleader Model & Methodology.

Silvia's scientific background and curiosity about the human brain led her to a decade long journey of research into optimal brain functioning and the application of neuroscience in leadership and daily life. Her past and current roles have uniquely prepared her for the current undertaking, that of leadership activist & change agent.

Silvia Damiano founded The About my Brain Institute in 2009, with the purpose of democratising leadership & neuroscience. She has a passionately held belief, that leaders in our 21st century global economy and their organisations must radically change long-held ideas of what constitutes effective leadership

In her ground-breaking books ‘Leadership is Upside Down’, ‘Brain-Friendly Leadership’ and the 2018 documentary ‘Make Me A Leader’, Silvia provides both compelling evidence and explores the importance of leadership in our personal and professional lives and what it takes to develop the human behind the leader.

Silvia has worked in different countries, across many industries, helping teams and organisations improve business performance. Silvia’s clients have described her as a passionate, dynamic, a highly experienced speaker and master facilitator on the topics of Emotional Intelligence, Cultural Change, Neuroleadership & Engagement.

Silvia is passionate about leaving a legacy of well-rounded leaders who can act and decide in a way that better serves humanity. Her clients include Microsoft, Australian Stock Exchange, NSW Government, VISA, Fuji Xerox and Manpower amongst many other global companies.

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