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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 February 11, 2021

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

How often have you said something simple, only to have the person who you said this to misunderstand it or twist the meaning completely around? Nodding your head in affirmative? Then this means that you are being unclear in your communication.

Communication should be simple, right? It’s all about two people or more talking and explaining something to the other. The problem lies in the talking itself, somehow we end up being unclear, and our words, attitude or even the way of talking becomes a barrier in communication, most of the times unknowingly. We give you six common barriers to communication, and how to get past them; for you to actually say what you mean, and or the other person to understand it as well…

The 6 Walls You Need to Break Down to Make Communication Effective

Think about it this way, a simple phrase like “what do you mean” can be said in many different ways and each different way would end up “communicating” something else entirely. Scream it at the other person, and the perception would be anger. Whisper this is someone’s ear and others may take it as if you were plotting something. Say it in another language, and no one gets what you mean at all, if they don’t speak it… This is what we mean when we say that talking or saying something that’s clear in your head, many not mean that you have successfully communicated it across to your intended audience – thus what you say and how, where and why you said it – at times become barriers to communication.[1]

Perceptual Barrier

The moment you say something in a confrontational, sarcastic, angry or emotional tone, you have set up perceptual barriers to communication. The other person or people to whom you are trying to communicate your point get the message that you are disinterested in what you are saying and sort of turn a deaf ear. In effect, you are yelling your point across to person who might as well be deaf![2]

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The problem: When you have a tone that’s not particularly positive, a body language that denotes your own disinterest in the situation and let your own stereotypes and misgivings enter the conversation via the way you talk and gesture, the other person perceives what you saying an entirely different manner than say if you said the same while smiling and catching their gaze.

The solution: Start the conversation on a positive note, and don’t let what you think color your tone, gestures of body language. Maintain eye contact with your audience, and smile openly and wholeheartedly…

Attitudinal Barrier

Some people, if you would excuse the language, are simply badass and in general are unable to form relationships or even a common point of communication with others, due to their habit of thinking to highly or too lowly of them. They basically have an attitude problem – since they hold themselves in high esteem, they are unable to form genuine lines of communication with anyone. The same is true if they think too little of themselves as well.[3]

The problem: If anyone at work, or even in your family, tends to roam around with a superior air – anything they say is likely to be taken by you and the others with a pinch, or even a bag of salt. Simply because whenever they talk, the first thing to come out of it is their condescending attitude. And in case there’s someone with an inferiority complex, their incessant self-pity forms barriers to communication.

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The solution: Use simple words and an encouraging smile to communicate effectively – and stick to constructive criticism, and not criticism because you are a perfectionist. If you see someone doing a good job, let them know, and disregard the thought that you could have done it better. It’s their job so measure them by industry standards and not your own.

Language Barrier

This is perhaps the commonest and the most inadvertent of barriers to communication. Using big words, too much of technical jargon or even using just the wrong language at the incorrect or inopportune time can lead to a loss or misinterpretation of communication. It may have sounded right in your head and to your ears as well, but if sounded gobbledygook to the others, the purpose is lost.

The problem: Say you are trying to explain a process to the newbies and end up using every technical word and industry jargon that you knew – your communication has failed if the newbie understood zilch. You have to, without sounding patronizing, explain things to someone in the simplest language they understand instead of the most complex that you do.

The solution: Simplify things for the other person to understand you, and understand it well. Think about it this way: if you are trying to explain something scientific to a child, you tone it down to their thinking capacity, without “dumbing” anything down in the process.[4]

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Emotional Barrier

Sometimes, we hesitate in opening our mouths, for fear of putting our foot in it! Other times, our emotional state is so fragile that we keep it and our lips zipped tightly together lest we explode. This is the time that our emotions become barriers to communication.[5]

The problem: Say you had a fight at home and are on a slow boil, muttering, in your head, about the injustice of it all. At this time, you have to give someone a dressing down over their work performance. You are likely to transfer at least part of your angst to the conversation then, and talk about unfairness in general, leaving the other person stymied about what you actually meant!

The solution: Remove your emotions and feelings to a personal space, and talk to the other person as you normally would. Treat any phobias or fears that you have and nip them in the bud so that they don’t become a problem. And remember, no one is perfect.

Cultural Barrier

Sometimes, being in an ever-shrinking world means that inadvertently, rules can make cultures clash and cultural clashes can turn into barriers to communication. The idea is to make your point across without hurting anyone’s cultural or religious sentiments.

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The problem: There are so many ways culture clashes can happen during communication and with cultural clashes; it’s not always about ethnicity. A non-smoker may have problems with smokers taking breaks; an older boss may have issues with younger staff using the Internet too much.

The solution: Communicate only what is necessary to get the point across – and eave your personal sentiments or feelings out of it. Try to be accommodative of the other’s viewpoint, and in case you still need to work it out, do it one to one, to avoid making a spectacle of the other person’s beliefs.[6]

Gender Barrier

Finally, it’s about Men from Mars and Women from Venus. Sometimes, men don’t understand women and women don’t get men – and this gender gap throws barriers in communication. Women tend to take conflict to their graves, literally, while men can move on instantly. Women rely on intuition, men on logic – so inherently, gender becomes a big block in successful communication.[7]

The problem: A male boss may inadvertently rub his female subordinates the wrong way with anti-feminism innuendoes, or even have problems with women taking too many family leaves. Similarly, women sometimes let their emotions get the better of them, something a male audience can’t relate to.

The solution: Talk to people like people – don’t think or classify them into genders and then talk accordingly. Don’t make comments or innuendos that are gender biased – you don’t have to come across as an MCP or as a bra-burning feminist either. Keep gender out of it.

And remember, the key to successful communication is simply being open, making eye contact and smiling intermittently. The battle is usually half won when you say what you mean in simple, straightforward words and keep your emotions out of it.

Reference

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