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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

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

More by this author

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 April 11, 2019

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in every phase of your life. This is especially true in the workplace.

I have personally worked with several leaders who were masters of communication. A few were wonderful speakers who could tell a great story and get everyone in the room engaged. Those of us in attendance would walk away feeling inspired and eager to help with what came next. Others were very skilled at sharing a clear direction and job expectations.

I knew exactly what was expected of me and how to achieve my goals. This was the foundation of an energized and vibrant role I was in. What I have found is strong communication skills are incredibly helpful and sometimes critical in how well we perform at work.

Here we will take a look at how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

How Communication Skills Help Your Success

Strong communication skills pave the way for success in many ways. Let’s look at a few of the big ones.

Create a Positive Experience

Here are two examples of how well developed communication skills helps create a positive experience:

When I first moved to the city I now live in, I began a job search. Prior to my first live interview, I was told an address to go to. Upon arriving at the address provided, I drove around and around attempting to find the location. After 15 minutes of circling and looking for the address, I finally grabbed a parking spot and set out on foot.

What I discovered was the address was actually down an alley and only had the number over the door. No sign for the actual company. The person that gave me those very unclear directions provided a bad experience for me.

Had they communicated the directions to get there in a clear manner, my experience would have been much better. Instead the entire experience started off poorly and colored the entire meeting.

As a recruiter, I frequently provide potential candidates with information about a job I’m speaking to them about. In order to do this, I also provide a picture of the overall company, the group they might be joining, and how their role fits in and impacts the entire company.

Time and time again I have been told by candidates that I have provided the clearest picture of a company and role they have ever heard. They have a positive experience when I clearly communicate to them. Even when the position does not work out for them, often times they will want to stay in touch with me due to the open communication and beneficial experience they had during the interviewing process.

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Strong communication skills will provide a positive experience in virtually any interaction you have with someone.

Help Leadership Skills

It’s certainly a skill all its own to be able to lead others.

Being a mentor and guiding others towards success is a major hallmark of great leaders. Another characteristic of effective leaders is the ability to communicate clearly.

As I referenced above, having a leader who can plainly articulate the company’s mission and direction goes a really long way towards being the Captain of the boat that others want to follow. It’s like saying “here’s our destination and this is how we are going to get there” in a way that everyone can get on board with.

Another critical component of everyone helping to sail the boat in the right direction is knowing what your portion is all about. How are you helping the boat move towards its destination in the manner than is consistent with the leaders’ vision?

If you have a boss or a manager that can show you what it takes for not only you to be successful, but also how your performance helps the company’s success then you’ve got a winner. A boss with superior communication skills.

Build Better Teams

Most of us work in teams of some sort or another. During the course of my career, I have led teams up to 80 and also been an individual contributor.

In my individual contributor roles, I have been part of a larger team. Even if you are in business for yourself, you have to interact with others in one manner or another.

If you have strong communication skills, it helps to build better teams. This is true whether you are in an IT department with 100 other fellow programmers or if you own your own business and have customers or vendors you communicate with.

When you showcase your robust ability to communicate well with others while interacting with them, you are building a better team.

Now let’s jump in to how to improve communication skills to help you pave the way for your workplace success.

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How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

There are many tips, tricks, and techniques to improve communication skills. I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much information, so let’s focus on the things that will provide the biggest return on your time investment.

Most of these tips will be fairly easy to become aware of but will take time and effort to implement. So let’s go!

1. Listen

Ever heard the saying you have two ears and one mouth for a reason? If you haven’t, then here’s the reason:

Being a good listener is half the equation to being a good communicator.

People who have the ability to really listen to someone can then actually answer questions in a meaningful way. If you don’t make the effort to actively listen, then you are really doing yourself and the other person a disservice in the communication department.

Know that person who is chomping at the bit to open his or her mouth the second you stop talking? Don’t be that person. They haven’t listened to at least 1/2 of what you’ve said. Therefore the words that spill out of their mouth are going to be about 1/2 relevant to what you just said.

Listen to someone completely and be comfortable with short periods of silence. Work on your listening skills first and foremost.

2. Know Your Audience

Knowing your audience is another critical component to having strong communication skills. The way you interact with your manager should be different than how you interact with your kids. This isn’t to say you need to be a different person with everyone you interact with. Far from it.

Here is a good way to think about it:

Imagine using your the same choice of words and body language you use with your spouse while interacting with your boss. That puts things in a graphic light!

You want to ensure you are using the type of communication most relevant to your audience.

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3. Minimize

I have lunch with a business associate about 3 times a year. We’ve been talking for several years now about putting a business deal together.

He is one of those people that simply overwhelms others with a lot of words. Sometimes when I ask him a question, I get buried beneath such an avalanche of words that I’m more confused than when I asked the question. Needless to say this is most likely a large portion of why we never put the deal together.

Don’t be like my lunch business associate. The goal of talking to or communicating with someone is to share actual information. The goal is not to confuse someone, it’s to provide clarity in many cases.

State what needs to be stated as succinctly as possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t have some pleasant conversation about the weather too.

The point is to not create such an onslaught of words and information that the other person walks away more confused than when they started.

4. Over Communicate

So this probably sounds completely counter intuitive to what I just wrote about minimizing your communication. It seems like it might be but it’s not.

What I mean by over communicating is ensuring that the other person understands the important parts of what you are sharing with them. This can be done simply yet effectively. Here’s a good example:

Most companies have open enrollment for benefits for the employees in the fall. The company I work for has open enrollment from November 1 to 15. The benefits department will send out a communication to all employees around October 1st, letting them know open enrollment is right around the corner and any major changes that year. There’s also a phone number and email for people to contact them with any questions.

Two weeks later, we all get a follow up email with basically the same information. We get a 3rd communication the week before open enrollment and another one 1 day before it starts.

Finally we get 2 emails during enrollment reminding us when open enrollment ends.

There’s minimal information, it’s more of a reminder. This is effective over communication.

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5. Body Language

The final critical component to how to improve communication skills for workplace success is body language. This is something most of us have heard about before but, a reminder is probably a good idea.

When I am in a meeting with someone I am comfortable with, I tend to kind of slouch down in my chair and cross my arms. When I catch myself doing this, I sit up straight and uncross my arms. I remember that crossing arms can many times be interpreted as a sign of disagreement or conflict.

In general, the best rule of thumb is to work towards having open body language whenever possible at work. This means relaxing your posture, not crossing your arms, and looking people in the eye when speaking with them.

When you are speaking in front of others, stand up straight and speak in a clear voice. This will convey confidence in your words.

Conclusion

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in many facets of your life and most certainly in the workplace.

Good communication helps create better teams, positive experiences with those we interact with, and are critical for leadership.

There are numerous tactics and techniques to be used to improve communication skills. Here we’ve reviewed how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

Now go communicate your way to success.

More Resources About Effective Communication

Featured photo credit: HIVAN ARVIZU via unsplash.com

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