Virtuous until proven otherwise

Richard Stengel writes in Mandela’s Way, the biography of Nelson Mandela:

“Some call it a blind spot, other naivete, but Mandela sees almost everyone as virtuous until proven otherwise. He starts with an assumption that you are dealing with him in good faith. He believes that, just as pretending to be brave can lead to acts of real bravery, seeing the good in other people improves the chances that they will reveal their better selves.”

My humble additions:

  • People are mostly good, honest and helpful – regardless of their origin, religion or race.
  • There’s some good and bad in every person, place and situation. We can choose to focus on the good or the bad.
  • We don’t have to smile only when we are happy. Smiling makes us happy.
  • We don’t have to wait for motivation before we act. Action brings motivation.
  • We don’t have to see evidence/results before we believe. Belief produces results.

What do you think? Please share your thoughts through comments.

[Photo of a friend, tour guide, driver and mentor-for-the-day in Rotorua NZ. More photos here.]

6 thoughts on “Virtuous until proven otherwise

  1. Above all, one has to be true to himself/herself and if he/she can’t put heart in it, take yourself out of it.
    One can have anything in life but one has to overcome the fear of ” I can’t have it”.
    No motivation lasts long, than self motivation. Motivation gets you started for good but you are successful if you make it a habit.
    Happiness is an outcome of your thoughts, feelings, experiences and actions.The more they are positive the more you are happy!!!!!!!!!!!!


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