Mahatma Gandhi was the man who lead the Indian people to independence from British rule in 1947. His experience with leadership and the human experience has left us with great wisdom to live by. In this blog, you will learn how to be the change you want to see in the world by reviewing 10 rules to live by as suggested by Mahatma Gandhi.
The first tip is to change yourself.
This one of course if from his famous quote, “You must be the change you want to see in the world.”
Another quote that I love of Gandhi’s is, “As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world – that is the myth of the atomic age – as in being able to remake ourselves.”
These quotes both tell us that has human beings, if we change ourselves we will change our world. It is true that if you change how you think, you will change how you feel, then your actions will reflect your thoughts and the world around you will change. Your world changes because you are now viewing your environment through new lenses of thoughts and emotions and because the change within can allow you to take action in ways you wouldn’t have even thought about while stuck in your old thought patterns.
Many people try to change by just manipulating their outer world. Such as moving to a new city, leaving or getting into a relationship or focusing on their outward appearance with clothing or exercise. The problem with only trying to change your outer world without changing your inner self is that you will still be you when you reach that change you have strived for. You will still have your flaws, anger, negativity and self-sabotaging tendencies intact. In this state, you will still not find what you’re looking for since your mind is still inundated with that negative thoughts and beliefs.
If by chance you happen to get more of what you want without taking a look into your ego mind, and distance yourself from your ego, these negative aspects may grow more powerful. Since your ego loves to keep you playing small, keep you comfortable, divide things, find enemies and create separation it may start to manifest even more problems and conflicts in your life.
Therefore, the change you want in your outer world begins with your inner world.
The second tip from Gandhi is that you are in control.
Gandhi is quoted to say, “Nobody can hurt me without my permission.”
This is a great quote because it reminds us that what we feel and how we react to something is always up to us. There may be a “normal” or common way to react to different things but our reaction and response to anything is up to us.
You can choose your own thoughts, reactions and emotions. If something you don’t like happens to you, you don’t have to freak out, overreact of even react in a negative way without thinking things over first. These types of reactions are often just a knee-jerk reaction that goes off or an old thought habit that kicks in subconsciously.
As you realize that no-one outside of yourself can actually control how you feel you can start to incorporate this thinking into your daily life and develop it as a thought habit. A habit that you can grow to be a more positive thought pattern and response over time. Doing this will make life a lot easier and more pleasurable.
The third tip is to forgive and let go.
A couple of quotes from Gandhi on this topic that I like are, “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”And “an eye for eye only ends up making the whole world blind.”
Fighting evil with evil won’t help anyone. And as said in the previous tip, you always choose how to react to something. When you incorporate this thought habit into your life then you can react in a way that is more positive and beneficial to you and others.
Forgiving and letting go of the past will do you and the people in your world a great service. Forgiveness doesn’t mean forgetting or telling the other person that their poor or hurtful behaviour is ok it’s just releasing you from the negative energy that may be holding you back. Spending your time holding on to some negative memory won’t help you… if anything it will just cause you to lose the lessons you could’ve learned from that experience. Without forgiveness and letting go of the past, you’ll just cause yourself more suffering and paralyze yourself from taking action.
If you don’t forgive then you let the past and another person to control how you feel. By forgiving you release yourself from those bonds.
Have you ever done this? Held on to something for far too long? I know I have! But since learning this lesson of forgiveness and letting go it has become a much more positive experience. Hating someone else because of something they did years ago doesn’t hurt anyone but you. I know its not always easy to forgive but it’s a very healing practice. I’ve seen many people well into their late years in life hold on to anger and grudges over things that happened to them decades before. They end up being negative people and often have severe physical consequences from that anger building up inside. As well as they miss the wonderful experiences they could shave had if they would’ve just let things go.
In previous episodes, I’ve mentioned the book, You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay, and she speaks about this topic. That emotional issues have negative effects on our physical body and the most powerful way to heal yourself is to deal with negative emotions. If you haven’t read this book yet, I highly recommend that you do.
The fourth tip is without action you aren’t going anywhere.
“An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching.” Gandhi says.
It’s true that we must take action towards where we want to go or very little will be done. However, taking action can be hard and difficult. There can be much inner resistance. But taking the first small step is key.
One thing that many people do, myself included, is spending too much time reading, studying, learning and focusing on self-improvement, to get better at something but getting little or no practical results in real life.
So, for you to really get where you want to go and understand yourself and your world you need to take action and translate the knowledge you have into results and understanding. Sometimes, you just need to push through your fear of feeling like you’re not good or smart enough and just get to it! Decide to take even a little action each day that will get you closer and closer to your dreams. Even the smallest of steps can make the biggest difference! You will learn and grow as you go.
The fifth tip is to take care of this moment; in other words, stay in the present moment.
To this point Gandhi said,“I do not want to foresee the future. I am concerned with taking care of the present. God has given me no control over the moment following.”
One of the best ways that I have found to overcome the inner resistance that often stops us from taking action is to stay in the present as much as possible and to be accepting of who we are and where we are at in the moment.
When you are in the present moment you don’t worry about the future. You have no control over that anyway so why focus on on it. And the resistance to action that comes from you imagining negative future consequences, or reflecting on past failures, of your actions loses its power. And so it becomes easier to both take action and to keep your focus on this moment and perform better.
Remember that reconnecting with and staying in the present moment is a mental habit you must practice for it to grow. Over time it becomes stronger and you will find it gets easier to stay in the present moment rather than looking back and dwelling on the past or looking into the future.
The sixth tip is that everyone, including you, is only human.
Gandhi said,“I claim to be a simple individual liable to err like any other fellow mortal. I own, however, that I have humility enough to confess my errors and to retrace my steps.”
Another quote I like to this point is, “It is unwise to be too sure of one’s own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err.”
When you start to make myths out of people, or thinking that people can do no wrong you run the risk of becoming disconnected from them. You start to feel like you could never achieve the amazing things that they did because they are so very different from you. But this is far from the truth. No matter who a person is or how great you think they are such as a successful business person, a celebrity or a hero of some kind, it’s important to keep in mind that everyone is just a human being.
I think it’s important to remember that we are all human and each one of us makes mistakes. Holding people to unreasonable standards will only create more unnecessary conflicts in your world and negativity within you. We see this a lot now with social media. People are only showing their best selves online, giving the illusion of perfection, and people looking at and admiring them begin to feel bad about themselves because they think they are not perfect. But that’s the thing, no one is perfect. We all have our flaws.
That’s why it’s really important to remember to avoid falling into the useless habit of beating yourself up over mistakes that you have made in the past or comparing yourself to others. Instead it’s important to see with clarity where you went wrong and what you can learn from your mistakes. Have compassion for yourself and where you are in your life and keep moving forward.
The seventh tip is to persist.
Gandhi said, “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”
This quote reminds us that it’s important too be persistent and don’t give up in the face of resistance. In time, opposition and resistance around you will fade and fall away and your inner resistance and self-sabotaging tendencies that want to hold you back and keep you comfortable will grow weaker.
To stay persistent, figure out what you really like and want to do, make a decision to go for it then you’ll find the inner motivation to keep going.
One reason Gandhi was so successful with his method of non-violence was because he and his followers were so persistent. They just didn’t give up.
Success or victory will rarely comes as quickly as any of us would like but the unfortunate part it that too many people don’t get what they want because they give up too soon. The time they think an achievement will require isn’t the same amount of time it usually takes to achieve that goal. This faulty belief partly comes from the world we live in. A world full of magic pill solutions where advertising continually promises us that we can lose a lot of weight or earn a ton of money in just 30 days. It just doesn’t work that way.
Napoleon Hill, in Think and Grow Rich, talked about being “three feet from gold.” This analogy comes from a story of a young man during the gold rush. After mining away at a Colorado gold mine for many months after not seeing any results or hitting gold, he decided to quit. He sold all of his machinery and equipment to a “junk man” who sought counsel prior to resuming digging. His engineer advised him that gold would be found just three feetfrom where the previous miner had stopped.
And you know what? He was right. The first miner was literally three feet from striking gold and he quit.
There are many lessons to be learned from this story, but the biggest lesson is that most people give up right before the goldbecause it gets TOO hard. If I’ve learned anything from my mentors, whether in business, health or otherwise, it’s that success is just on the other side of resistance. You just need to keep going, be persistent and be willing to be creative when dealing with and pushing through the challenges. I had one coach tell me once that the resistance that comes up is just the universe testing my desire to actually be successful. If a little resistance can cause me to quit, I’d never be able to handle what it you take to be successful. This thought has hit me hard as I have quit many things because it got a little hard. But anything I persisted through has always resulted in a positive outcome and a great lesson learned.
The eighth tip is to see the good in people and serve them the best you can.
Gandhi said, “I look only to the good qualities of men. Not being faultless myself, I won’t presume to probe into the faults of others.”
“Man becomes great exactly in the degree in which he works for the welfare of his fellow-men.”
“I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people.”
There is pretty much always something good in people as there are also things that may not be good. The good news it you can choose what things to focus on but if you want improvement then it’s important to focus on the good in people. Doing so will make life much easier for you because your world and relationships will become more pleasant and positive as a result.
When you see the good in people it becomes easier to be of service to them. By serving and giving other people value you not only make their lives better but over time you will get what you give. This service may also ignite a pay it forward type of action that inspires the people you help to be more inclined to help other people as well. And so you, together, create an upward spiral of positive change that grows and becomes stronger creating a better world.
By strengthening your social skills you can become a more influential person and make this upward spiral even stronger.
The ninth tip is to be congruent, be authentic and be your true self.
Gandhi said, “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”
“Always aim at complete harmony of thought and word and deed. Always aim at purifying your thoughts and everything will be well.”
I think that one of the best tips for improving your social skills is to behave in a congruent manner, communicate in an authentic way and act in integrity. People like authentic and real communication and there is much inner enjoyment to be found when your thoughts, words and actions are aligned. You feel more powerful and confident in yourself.
When your thoughts and words are aligned it shows through in your communication and actions and people will be more inclined to listen to what you’re saying. When your actions aren’t in alignment with what you’re communicating then you start to hurt your own belief in what you can do and people’s belief in you too. This misalignment will come off as mixed messages or perhaps phoniness.
Think of someone you know, or have been in contact with, you feel is being phoney. It doesn’t feel good does it. Sometimes, to my detriment, I have a really hard time being phoney. People know very quickly when I don’t believe them or I can see through their disingenuous behaviour. I am the kind of person that likes to speak the truth or not at all. Integrity is one of my personal care values and if I have ever acted out of integrity it never feels good.
The final tip is to always continue to grow and evolve.
Gandhi said, ”Constant development is the law of life, and a man who always tries to maintain his dogmas in order to appear consistent drives himself into a false position.”
I am a big believer in personal growth and development. I believe that all of us can improve improve our skills and habits. By constant personal self-study and growth you can a gain deeper understanding of yourself and the world.
No one knows everything about everything. If you want be an expert in something, you must consistently learn and grow. For example, I’ve been in the fitness and wellness industry for over two decades and it is a requirement to be consistent and up to date on continuing education to keep my certifications.
I always believe that as we grow, we change. Our bodies, thoughts and beliefs change over time. It a good practice to always be exploring our inner and outer selves to see where we can get, and be, better. By doing this for ourselves we are then able to better serve and inspire others to do the same. Therefore, coming back to the first rule from Gandhi, of be the change you want to see in the world.
What great information would’t you say. I love learning from great leaders like Mahatma Gandhi who’ve come before us and left us such great wisdom.
I hope you have received great value from Gandhi’s tips for how to become the change you want to see in the world. If you want to hear the audio version of this blog, please CLICK HERE to listen to episode 38 of the Rockin’ Wellness Podcast.
Until next time,
Keep Rockin’ your wellness!
Rachel Joy Olsen, BSc., MBA
Wellness & Spiritual Life Coach
Are you three feet from Gold? https://www.salescoachnow.com/are-you-three-feet-from-gold/
Gandhi’s 10 Rules For Changing The World: https://www.dailygood.org/story/466/gandhi-s-10-rules-for-changing-the-world-henrik-