Mahatma Gandhi was born on 2nd October, 1869. Today is also celebrated as the International day of Non-Violence in his honor. Though there is some controversy and debate about his choices, there’s also a treasure trove of wisdom to be learned from him. The word “Mahatma” is made up of two Hindi words Mahan and Aātma; meaning a great soul. When asked about what message he would like to give to the world, Gandhi said, “My life is my message”. Here are 10 great strategies and virtues we should learn from the great life of Mahatma Gandhi. All the quotes after headings are by Mahatma Gandhi:
- Faith in self
“In a gentle way, you can shake the world.” And also,
“Men often become what they believe themselves to be. If I believe I cannot do something, it makes me incapable of doing it. But when I believe I can, then I acquire the ability to do it even if I didn’t have it in the beginning.”
Mahatma Gandhi wasn’t a great orator, didn’t have a very attractive physique, lived a life of simplicity and avoided limelight as much as he could, but still he is regarded as one of the greatest persons to have ever walked on earth. The reason is he always believed in himself. He believed that he has a great responsibility to free his country and he had complete faith in himself. He knew he’d a play a significant role in the freedom of India and so he did. His faith in himself triggered the faith of millions of Indians in him.
How To Develop Self Faith?
All of us have great abilities and great responsibilities. All of us play a very significant role in the flow of History. The reason we never realize is because we never believe we can have a worldwide impact. We need to stop belittling ourselves. We can accomplish any task but we must have faith in ourselves. The ability to repeat your goal in your mind, refocus when distracted and concentrate on your objective while ignoring unimportant tasks can build unshakable faith in ourselves over time.
- Resistance & Persistence
“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you and then you win.”
It was very tough to lead the Independence movement of a huge country such as India, that too with non-violence and against the violent & cruel British army. Gandhi was beaten a lot of times, left bleeding on the ground and sometimes it seemed that he won’t see the sun next day but each day and each time he faced the opposition, he resisted, he persisted and he got through all the opposition.
Stand Up for Your Cause
When you fight for a noble cause and you know that you’re doing the right thing you’ll face the opposition. As Einstein remarked, “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds”. The opposition may make everything seem worse, you may feel like you’re the only one standing up for your cause and the whole world is against you. That’s the time you might feel like giving up but you must resist the opposition, and must persevere to make your dreams come true. You must remind yourself why you walk the path and let your mission rekindle the fire within, no matter how many times people try to exhaust it. A person with truth on his side is a majority, even if he is alone. Don’t mind the opposition, keep going. The like minded people would join your side but you must lead first.
“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”
Mahatma Gandhi was thrown into jail, beaten on the roads; many people conspired to kill him and many assassinations were attempted on his life. But he forgave them all. He always forgave the people that might have hurt him in any way.
Why You Should Forgive?
What people don’t understand is that forgiveness is not only a great quality but it’s also somewhat a selfish act. When you forgive the people that might have hurt you or caused you some problems, you let go of the negativity associated with that event. Also, forgiving people causes a long lasting positive impact on their lives and builds everlasting relationships. As Lincoln said, “I destroy my enemies when I make them friends”. So issue a blank pardon and forgive everyone.
- Learning from mistakes
“Confession of errors is like a broom which sweeps away the dirt and leaves the surface brighter and clearer. I feel stronger for confession.”
Mahatma Gandhi wasn’t perfect from the beginning. When he was child, he lied, he stole, he fought, he cheated, easily gave in to temptation, was too much after material things and fake recognition. Some of his actions were condemned in his own land, by his trusted circle of people. He made mistakes throughout his life but always strived to avoid making the same mistake twice. He often failed but tried to rectify his shortcomings.
It’s Okay to Make Mistakes
We’re all humans and making mistakes is a part of being human. But we should pause frequently, assess our mistakes, what caused them and how can we avoid them in future. If we learn from failures and mistakes, they’d eventually turn out to be as grand success in life.
- Strength of Character
“There are seven sins in the world: Wealth without work, Pleasure without conscience, Knowledge without character, Commerce without morality, Science without humanity, Worship without sacrifice and politics without principle.”
Mahatma Gandhi was a man of great character. He always favored the truth and honesty, he condemned violence, kept himself away from the materialistic desires and walked a path of high moral. He was a celebrity who was recognized worldwide and yet remaining unaffected from the limelight he lived a life of an ascetic. He maintained a life of simplicity and discipline.
Importance of Self-Mastery
I’d put forth this quote by Leonardo da Vinci on self mastery: “You will never have a greater or lesser dominion than that over yourself. The height of a man’s success is gauged by his self-mastery; the depth of his failure by his self-abandonment. He who cannot establish dominion over himself will have no dominion over others.” A life of discipline & virtue is not possible without organization and self-mastery. And mastery over self begins with mastering our thoughts.
- Love, Don’t Resort to Hatred
“Whenever you’re confronted with an opponent, conquer him with love.”
This is a quality most of the people would have difficulty to adopt but it’s a quality often found in great people. It was present in the Buddha, Christ and in other great spiritual leaders. This was something Gandhi adopted from his ideals.
Conquering The Enemies with Love
When you avoid a fight and instead walk out of the arena with your opponent, both having a smile on their faces: it might look stupid. But it actually works in your favor. Two things you’ve won- the fight without even actually fighting and a good friend that might help you in the ups and downs of life. Actions like this help in building everlasting relationships.
“Truth stands, even if there be no public support. It is self-sustained.”
Most of the people reading this post would not know that before becoming a freedom fighter, M.K. Gandhi was actually a lawyer. Often people assume that the profession of lawyer requires much cunning and lying but still Gandhi never resorted to lying. He promoted truth throughout his life. He always called truth as his most powerful weapon. He named his own autobiography: “My Experiments with Truth”.
Speak the Truth, Even if Your Voice Shakes
While lying might serve your purpose for a short time, truth lasts forever. If you say the truth every time and to everyone, you don’t have to remember anything. While one lie triggers even more lies, Truth stands for itself.
- Living 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.”
Gandhi believed in living each moment at fullest and concentrating at the task in hands. He didn’t waste his time looking back at the past or wondering what would happen in the future.
Focus on the Present
Concentrating on the present benefits you in two ways: it let go you of the worries of the past and the future but also it increases your efficiency at the task you must focus right now. It sorts out your priorities and help you avoid procrastination.
- Take the First Step and Do it anyway
“Nearly everything you do is of no importance, but it is important that you do it”
Gandhi himself suffered from the menace of procrastination when he was in school and later on when he went to England to learn law. Then he devised this method of taking first step in faith and doing the task anyways. He knew that not all the actions that he’d take would be important but he knew that they will have important results later on.
Take the First Step
If you don’t do something about it, it will never be done. The great tasks in future should never be at the mercy of leisure and laziness. If you want something to be done the best thing is begin it and do it anyway.
- Non Violence
“My religion is based on truth and non-violence. Truth is my God. Non-violence is the means of realizing Him” And also,
“An eye for an eye would soon make the whole world blind.”
Mahatma Gandhi is known in the whole world for his principles of non-violence. He never resorted to violence and was the most prominent figure in the non-violent side of movements for the independence of India. In his memory and honor, today “International Day of Non-Violence” is observed worldwide. If we begin to resort to and resolve our problems and conflicts peacefully, without violence and in cooperation with each other, thousands of innocent lives can be saved that are lost in mindless wars.
Wars are Rarely the Solution
Wars can rarely solve issues, more frequently they simply terminate them.
In the end, a quote by Gandhi that would help you to reach your destiny-
“Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your values. Your values become your destiny.”
On this birthday of Gandhiji, make a pledge to assimilate and adapt these qualities in your life and help make the world a better place 🙂
This post was originally published on our old blog, I’ve edited it significantly: Top Qualities of Mahatma Gandhi | Untrailed Path of Man of Wisdom
Till the next time, spread smiles. Stay positive. Take care. Keep trailing on your Untrailed Path.