Success rules and lessons I learned from Prof. Wangari Maathai Quotes

Wangari Maathai was a Kenyan Politician, environmentalist, and Founder of the Green Belt Movement. She is one of the most inspirational personalities to ever live in Kenya. In 2004 she was awarded the Nobel peace prize Laureate for her environmental activism in Kenya.

Women rights, Environment, and better living were her major causes. She spearheaded planting of trees across Kenya and got global recognition. Nothing stopped her from standing for what she believed in.

Four amazing books are under her Name: The Green Belt Movement; Unbowed: A Memoir; The Challenge for Africa; and Replenishing the Earth.

Here are 11 success rules and lessons I learned from Prof. Wangari Maathai. If any of them relates to you, share it or highlight it in the comment section. Enjoy!

Make the Best out of any Situation and do the best you can

“As I swept the last bit of dust, I made a covenant with myself: I will accept. Whatever will be, will be. I have a life to lead. I recalled words a friend had told me, the philosophy of her faith. “Life is a journey and a struggle,” she had said. “We cannot control it, but we can make the best of any situation.” I was indeed in quite a situation. It was up to me to make the best of it.”

“No matter who or where we are, or what our capabilities, we are called to do the best we can.”

Wangari Mathai: You can achieve anything you want irrespective of gender

“I stand before you and the world humbled by this recognition and uplifted by the honor of being the 2004 Nobel Peace Laureate. As the first African woman to receive this prize, I accept it on behalf of the people of Kenya and Africa, and indeed the world. I am especially mindful of women and the girl child. I hope it will encourage them to raise their voices and take more space for leadership.”

Protect Nature and the Environment

“Education, if it means anything, should not take people away from the land, but instill in them, even more, respect for it, because educated people are in a position to understand what is being lost. The future of the planet concerns all of us, and all of us should do what we can to protect it. As I told the foresters, and the women, you don’t need a diploma to plant a tree.”

“Resources on the planet are limited, and limited resources can come to an end. But there are also a lot of resources that are renewable. A lot of lands, for example, can be reclaimed from the encroaching deserts.”

Don’t just do the talking, go ahead and do it. Implement it. Make a difference.

“You can make a lot of speeches, but the real thing is when you dig a hole, plant a tree, give it water and make it survive. That’s what makes the difference”

Prof. Wangari Maathai on helping others

“For us who are now in power, we need to be challenged to serve the people and ignore our own egos and personal interests so that we can really demonstrate to other African states that it is possible to share power without going to war.”

Know yourself, be yourself and believe in yourself

“You have to know yourself, and that once you know yourself, then you cannot be bound by – because sometimes we are bound by other people’s thoughts because we are not sure about ourselves. But once you know yourself… I guess it is really an expression of the biblical statements that the truth will make you free! When you know, then you are free, your mind is free.”

“When people can’t use you, they ridicule what you represent. I was lucky that I understood that because when one does not understand that, it is very easy to be broken and to be subdued.”

Build a great Team or work with one

“I’m very conscious of the fact that you can’t do it alone. It’s teamwork. When you do it alone you run the risk that when you are no longer there nobody else will do it.”

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Education is very important by Prof. Wangari Maathai

“Education is a very empowering experience, so many people who went to school also managed to improve their quality of life much faster because they could get a job, they could get money. Once people see that you improve your life if you are educated, then education becomes a valuable tool and people want it.”

Always do something important in your life. Something that you truly believe in

“I want to do the right things – I want to plant trees, I want to make sure that the indigenous forests are protected because I know, whatever happens, these are the forests that contain biodiversity, these are the forests that help us retain water when it rains and keep our rivers flowing, these are the forests that many future generations will need.”

“Every person who has ever achieved anything has been knocked down many times. But all of them picked themselves up and kept going, and that is what I have always tried to do.”

“That’s the way I do things when I want to celebrate, I always plant a tree. And so I got an indigenous tree, called Nandi flame, it has these beautiful red flowers. When it is in flower it is like it is in flame.”

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Wangari Maathai: Make mistakes and Learn from them

“It is very important for young people not to be afraid of engaging in areas that are not common to the youth. Get involved in local activities, get involved in local initiatives, and be involved in leadership positions because you can’t learn unless you are involved. And if you make mistakes that is alright too because we all make mistakes and we learn from those mistakes. You gain confidence from learning, failing and rising again.”

To overcome a problem, look at the root cause

“For me, one of the major reasons to move beyond just the planting of trees was that I have the tendency to look at the causes of a problem. We often preoccupy ourselves with the symptoms, whereas if we went to the root cause of the problems, we would be able to overcome the problems once and for all.”

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“You must not deal only with the symptoms. You have to get to the root causes by promoting environmental rehabilitation and empowering people to do things for themselves. What is done for the people without involving them cannot be sustained.”

Three Questions that will change your life

If you had enough money and you didn’t have to work, would you do what you’re doing now? Why?

What if today was the last day of your life, what would you do with it? Where would you go, what would you create?

“So ask yourself, if someone put a gun to your head and forced you to leave your house every day for everything except for sleep, how would you choose to occupy yourself?” – Mark Mason

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Don’t judge your destiny with your current situation. If it is possible for some, it is also possible for you.

There are so many other people in the world who want the same thing as you. They are not sleeping to achieve it. So you cannot afford to have excuses not to give it all. We don’t get what we want; we get what we have to have.

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Go ahead and do it. Make it work now. Create your life.