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10 Eternally Inspiring Quotes From Gandhi That’ll Encourage You To Change The World

10 Eternally Inspiring Quotes From Gandhi That’ll Encourage You To Change The World
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Mahatma Gandhi, born October 2, 1869 in Porbandar, Kathiawar Agency, British India, had a law degree but realized he was too introverted to practice law. Raised in a merchant caste family, he opted to pursue another line of work that would in later years earn him the name “Mahatma,” which means “The great-souled one.”

Gandhi’s mother raised her son to have simple needs, be a vegetarian, shun violence and tolerate the views of others. He appreciated this upbringing so much that he once quipped, “It may be possible to gild pure gold, but who can make his mother more beautiful?”

Gandhi devoted his life to fight for Indian independence from the British Empire through non-violent civil disobedience, a path that led his countrymen to immortalize him as the “Father of India.” Throughout the rest of the world, the date of his birth is celebrated as the International Day of Nonviolence.

How did such a lowly individual come to become such an impactful leader? What propelled him to stand up against injustice, government oppressions and change the world?

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Here are 10 eternally inspiring quotes from Gandhi that’ll give you a glimpse into his mind. The quotes are simple truths and powerful exhortation by Gandhi himself that can change your life. They’ll encourage you to get up and play your part in making the world a better place. Enjoy.

1. “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Gandhi wished to see an end of poverty and Indians gain more rights. He wished governments stopped oppressing citizens and violating their basic human rights. So he stood up and began to champion for civil rights and inspire freedom movements around the world. In the end, he became the change he wanted to see in the world. You must be willing to roll up your sleeves, get in the ring and fight for the change you wish to see. It starts with you — your personal resolve and willingness to sacrifice for change.

2. “An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching.”

Inspiring words are great. They help to highlight problems and strengthen people’s convictions. But, words alone are not enough. Gandhi believed in taking action—non-violent action. It doesn’t really matter how small or how radical your actions are, or even if you succeed, taking action is its own reward. As Gandhi himself observed, “Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment, full effort is full victory.” Don’t be indifferent or a silent observer of ills in the world. Act now to bring positive change.

3. “My life is my message.”

In the course of his straggles for freedom and justice, Gandhi developed a concept he called “satyagraha.” This was in essence a philosophy devoted to the truth and non-violence. He modeled an ascetic lifestyle that incorporated prayer, fasting and meditation. He started wearing a traditional white dhoti or long loincloth, and was arrested several times for leading peaceful protests. His campaigns were to ease poverty, increase religious tolerance and expand human rights, including women’s rights. His life was his message. And his followers saw it and started calling him “Mahatma.” Your life should be your message too.

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4. “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

If you are struggling to find yourself or the meaning of your existence, commit yourself to the service of others. There you will find yourself because you are part of the whole, and the whole is part of you. Your welfare is interlinked with the welfare of others in the human family.

5. “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”

No one knows what will happen the next minute, let alone the next hour or tomorrow. Tomorrow might in fact never come. So do your absolute best now. Learn as much as you can about how to improve the world now. Show up and make the world better now. Now is the only time you are sure of.

On January 30, 1948, Gandhi was assassinated while walking to a prayer meeting in New Delhi. The assassin, a young Hindu extremist, was angry because Gandhi had been negotiating with Muslims. But, Gandhi lived each day of his adult life to the fullest. Because of that, and inspite of being assassinated at age 78, his legacy lives on years later. It can never be killed.

6. “I am a humble but very earnest seeker after truth.”

Wicked forces in the world wish to hide and stifle the truth. Seek out the truth and guard it earnestly because the truth shall set you free; the truth shall set the world free. Gandhi believed so much in seeking after the truth because, as he put it himself, “Truth never damages a cause that is just.” Truth may in fact damage an unjust cause.

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7. “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

In 1930, Gandhi led a march to the sea to protest Salt Laws that required Indians to purchase expensive British salt rather than mine their own. Many observers laughed at the protestors and others just ignored them. The protesters boiled salt water and extracted “illegal” salt. Gandhi was arrested, but soon after released so that he could attend round table negotiations in London.

The Round Table Conference was not great for Gandhi, but he met the King of England and gained international exposure. Those who laughed at him were not laughing any more. He won. Stand fast and fight for a better world inspite of people’s ridicule and mockery. You will win in the end.

8. “An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.”

According to Gandhi, vengeance and violent retaliation is not the answer for injustice. Gandhi actually believed that,“Non-violence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man.” So, he firmly asserted: “I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.”

This conviction that violence is not the answer worked for Gandhi; it worked for Martin Luther King Jr.; it can work for you too!

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9. “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”

Forgiveness is often quite hard. That is why it’s an attribute of the strong. It’s a gift that warms the heart and cools the sting. It is a sign of strength. When you forgive it does not delete a memory, it creates a new way to remember. It allows you to change your attitude. When your attitude changes, so does the attitude of the world toward you change. You influence the world positively by being generous with forgiveness.

10. “In a gentle way, you can shake the world.”

You don’t have get your bowels in an uproar and huff and puff to make a change in this world. This is self evident in Gandhi’s own life. He was one of the gentlest beings to ever walk the earth. And if you thought being gentle is a weakness, you couldn’t be more wrong. A gentle, forceful nature is what made Gandhi one of most revered spiritual-nationalist leader the world has seen. Gandhi is a testament that no matter what your circumstances, with a gentle, resolute spirit you can change the world.

Featured photo credit: Timothy Tolle via flickr.com

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David K. William

David is a publisher and entrepreneur who tries to help professionals grow their business and careers, and gives advice for entrepreneurs.

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)
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You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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