Mahatma Gandhi is a renowned figure in world history. His dedication to the principles of peacefulness is legendary and he was able to accomplish many great things in his life.
He is the man who led his Indian people to gain their independence from British rule in 1947, and the philosophy of the man lives on in the hearts of many to this day.
Gandhi’s ideas were simple and came from a positive place in his heart, mind and soul. Below we list the ten best ideas or pieces of advice we can glean from Gandhi to change our world for the better.
1. Learn to forgive your friends as well as your enemies.
This is a principle you can find in many religions, and the intent and concept behind it come from love and a desire to abstain from violence and negative thoughts. When you are wronged or hurt by another the natural response may be to lash out or seek revenge. So many times we hear of jilted lovers doing terrible things in the heat of passion or friendships ending due to misunderstandings.
“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is an attribute of the strong.”
It does take a certain strength to forgive someone who has wronged you. Realize that revenge will not erase the wrong that was done, it will only create more hurt. Do not let yourself become a part of a vicious cycle of revenge. Listen to these famous words from Gandhi himself:
“An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.”
Revenge is a cyclical thing. Once you carry out your vengeance, you will bring more negativity and wrong down upon your head. If you can search within and find the strength to forgive your friends and foes alike, then that is far more admirable and better for the world.
2. Realize that no one is perfect.
Perfection is an ideal that no man can realistically attain. We are all flawed beings despite our best intentions. It takes a humble sprit to continue to become better and better. The way to achieve this is through admitting your mistakes and learning from them as best you can.
“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.”
With a spirit of humility you can see where you went wrong. You can’t let pride blind you in this regard. To do so would be to never truly evolve. The same mistakes would continually pop up in your life because you never properly learn your lesson.
3. To thine own self be true.
Yes, that line was from the famous Shakespeare play Hamlet. The words of Gandhi speak to us and say that we would do well to align our thoughts, actions and words. In doing so we stay true to ourselves.
“Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony.”
If more people were truly happy it would make the world a better place. Negativity in the world often comes from a bitter spirit, jealousy and hate. Happiness embodies all of the great things about the world such as love, prosperity and justice. When you are not afraid to do what you are thinking and the words coming out of your mouth ring true you are living your life as you see fit. To be true to yourself is a great thing. Follow your heart and let all facets of your being be guided by it.
4. Understand you are in control of your own life.
Sometimes people blame others for their misfortune. They try to find a convenient scapegoat so that they don’t have to feel bad about their failures. This isn’t a healthy way to think of things though and it leads to a bad place. It must be understood that each human is in control of his or her life. Certainly other people can influence you in many ways. Even if others lead you down a bad path the choice was yours to follow that individual.
“Nobody can hurt me without my permission.”
Gandhi understood that ultimately each person is responsible for their choices and actions in life. Be mindful of this when living your life and it will help you to want to make the best decisions possible. If you follow the crowd and do not like where you end up, you were still in control of what you were doing. Forge your own path in life, and have a smile on your face when you reach your destination.
5. You must change yourself to change the world.
The world is not always exactly how we want it to be. Sitting at home and hoping things will get better one day will do little or nothing towards making that a reality. In order to change the world people need to change themselves. The healing starts at home so to speak.
“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”
If the world were to change and you were to do nothing to change yourself, you would still be a part of the problem. We must seek to continually change our world by making it a little bit better as time flows forward. By inspiring change in your person you can inspire those around you. Simple things such as treating others with kindness, being slow to anger and accepting others for who they are regardless of personal prejudices are great ways to start.
6. Ideas need action to give them meaning.
Ideas are an incredible thing. Concepts such as democracy, freedom and justice look great on paper or in an individual’s head. What if those ideas had never come to fruition though? Without action the ideas are just pretty thoughts floating in the air. Action is what can bring an idea to life and help change our surroundings for the better.
“An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching.”
Letting your ideas be known is positive in its’ own way, but showing people how they work through individual action is the way to go. Dialogue is a part of the process of initiating changes, but ideas must be put into practice. Get out there and start that neighborhood watch to try to deter the heightening crime rate in your neighborhood. Put your ideas and words to good use.
7. Understand that we live in the present.
The past and future are great concerns for many. People look to the past longingly for times that they cherished. They worry about the future for the sake of their children, wondering what type of world we are leaving to them. In order to honor the memory of the past and ensure the future is a great one to leave to our children, we must live in the present.
“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.”
The present moment in time is the one we have control over. We can change the way things are now by living our lives as best we can. We can mold the future through our actions now, but if we do nothing but think about times past and times to come the moment will pass us by. There is no going back to a moment in time. Let your mind live in the here and now.
8. Possess the spirit to endure.
Things in life that are worth achieving often do not come in the blink of an eye. Having a spirit that is willing to endure tough times and continue to strive forward is an important quality in achieving great things in this world. One cannot give up due to not getting the result they want the first time out of the gate.
“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”
Being an individual who will persist in the pursuit of your ideals or goals can win you the day. Those who oppose your progress will fall by the wayside while you remain unwavering. It is the person with the most resolve who gets their desire.
9. See the good in your fellow man.
No person is without their faults. Understanding that all human beings are prone to being imperfect, we must see the good in our fellow man. By helping one another and promoting good will the whole world’s situation can improve.
“I look only to the good qualities of men. Not being faultless myself, I won’t presume to probe into the faults of others.”
By understanding that we all have things we wish to improve on, we can help each other live fuller lives. Humanity never would have come as far as it has if not for men working together to build civilization to this point. Our continued partnerships and relationships will propel us forward for years to com. It is important to get along with each other and to be accepting. When you are with a person understand the goodness within them. Don’t judge them for what they aren’t, form a bond with what they are.
10. Continually evolve and grow.
We possess the abilities to learn, increase our skills and come to a better understanding of so many different things. It is important not to be stagnant in life, because only by continuing to improve one’s self can one keep up with the changing world around us.
“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.”
If you are a man who is unwilling to adapt you will not last in the world. Certainly elasticity is a great quality to possess. Rigidity of belief and expectations can be a person’s undoing. Continually be willing to learn new things and change accordingly.
By Chris Cains,
Creator of the Miracle Mind Method