He was a frail and tiny man who stood strong in his convictions. He led a nation to freedom, he led a people to enlightenment.
Mahatma Gandhi, or Bapu as we fondly know him, has influenced our lives and thoughts in many ways. His teachings continue to resonate with their truth, simplicity and applicability to various life situations.
Gandhi’s non-violent philosophies went beyond stirring a nation to independence... The austere man with a penchant for ‘experimenting with truth’ gave us several insights for self-improvement and mastery.
Here, I draw inspiration from quotes by Gandhi to help you adapt them for greater success in your own life.
Believe and the means will follow
‘If I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.’
All great actions start with thoughts, and thoughts get their strength from beliefs. When your thoughts find their true manifestation in your actions, and you start living by them, they become your beliefs — ideas that rule your life and conduct it in a way right for you.
Just like Gandhi did… He believed in a simple life, in non-violence and peace. To these ideals he devoted his life. He tested himself time and again, and each time his capacity for endurance grew.
Test your beliefs, have the faith to pursue your ideas, and the means to achieve your goals will unfold automatically.
Make a difference by adding value
‘Be the change that you want to see in the world.’
Change is a by-product of our need to go beyond what already exists. To challenge our comfort zones, have better experiences, and add beauty to our world.
But, as Gandhi says, all change starts with you. When you push your limits, go beyond the ordinary, and strive for the extraordinary, only then will you experience change and growth.
Gandhi led by example — When he wanted to promote an indigenous way of life, he wore only khadi. Soon a swadeshi wave swept the country, the economy picked up, and Indians became more self-reliant.
Identify and implement the change you want to see in your life. Next, experience those benefits for yourself, and then let that transformation inspire others.
Determine your pace for growth
‘There is more to life than simply increasing its speed.’
Success in today’s times is determined by speed, and how fast you get to a place or a position. But why the need for speed? Why not take some time out from all the rushing around, and stay still for a while?
Gandhi observed silence for one day in each week. This helped him get away from the busyness of the world, from the constant bombardment of communication, and social pressures. It allowed him time to meditate, introspect, and regroup for the next big challenge.
Don’t compare your pace and growth with others… Follow your natural rhythm, and let success and achievement come to you in their due time.
Keep moving toward your goal
‘Glory lies in the attempt to reach one’s goal and not in reaching it.’
Set your goals, and then work toward them diligently and with devotion. As you simply work on the processes of the goal, getting immersed in its flow, you will realise that the journey is reward in itself.
Gandhi started the Dandi March with a handful of people. But, as he walked toward his destination, several Indians joined him along the way, creating the first civil disobedience movement of its kind… It all began with that one step!
Take the first step toward your goals, and watch your life gather momentum by itself, as you march toward success!
Follow a code of conduct
‘It is difficult, but not impossible, to conduct strictly honest business.’
In life, as in business, honesty and integrity command the highest respect. By being honest you show commitment to yourself, your beliefs, and, eventually, to the world around you.
Gandhi practised honesty at every level, making intricate details of his life and views open to people. He spoke candidly about his struggles, and about conquering his demons.
Being transparent and ethical can be challenging but it will take your character many notches higher, and your honesty will shine through.
Make leadership about people
‘I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people.’
A good leader needs many qualities — the ability to bring people together, translate his vision to them, and help those around him unleash the best versions of themselves.
Gandhi brought a nation together in a common vision for freedom. His ability to appeal to millions of people, locally and globally, reflected his knack for getting along with people.
Work on your interpersonal skills, communicate as clearly as possible with those around you, and facilitate their maximum potential.
Create space for experimentation
‘Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.’
This is the ultimate freedom, isn’t it — to be human, to learn through trial and error. Nothing can be gained without risking it all on a thought or idea, and allowing it to chart its path, however bizarre it may seem at the start...
Gandhi had a vision for non-violence at a time when the world was rife with wars. Many thought it was idealistic, even unrealistic, but he gave it his best shot, and set an example.
Be creative, allow yourself to err, and don’t be too harsh on yourself or others... Because, we are all human — with ‘the freedom to make mistakes’.
So, get on the road to magnificence, let your life and work positively impact the lives of others. And, in the words of the Mahatma, be sure —
‘In a gentle way, you can shake the world.’
The article was first published on Common Sense Living, a digital publication with new-age lifestyle and wealth-building ideas.
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