10 Lessons from Mahatma Gandhi's Life
Indian spiritual and political leader Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) is extraordinary in the annals of history because he successfully used the noble method of non-violence to fight for India's independence from the British. He inspired millions of Indians to follow his example and succeeded in making his country free after decades of struggle. There is plenty that one can learn and apply from this peaceful revolutionary's courageous convictions and actions.
1. Try to Lead a Simple and Productive Life
Gandhi relinquished all luxuries and survived with only bare essentials. One can learn the art of simplicity from his example. A simple and frugal lifestyle can help you devote more time and resources to self-improvement. You would be able to focus more on spiritual advancement and less on material gains.
2. Try to Be Selfless
Gandhi relinquished a successful career as a barrister to devote his time to help the people of his nation. This makes one get over the narrow tunnel vision of personal achievement, and realize that one lives in a wide and diverse world. If you are inclined, you can make the effort to participate in social causes and help the less privileged.
3. Be Yourself
Gandhi had the moral courage to visit Buckingham Palace in London clad in his usual simple attire. He casually joked that the king was wearing enough clothes for both of them. This can inspire you to stick to your moral convictions at any cost. Believe in yourself and fight the odds bravely in tough times.
4. Lead by Example
Gandhi said that to change the world, one should start by first changing oneself. So take a good look at the man in the mirror, and make the necessary improvements to become a better person. You cannot hope to inspire others if you do not lead an exemplary life yourself.
5. The Mind is Stronger than the Body
One needs to have a very strong mind to suffer blows without flinching or retaliating. Gandhi and his non-violent followers proved the superiority of mind over matter by suffering immense physical pain stoically. This shows that one can mold one's thoughts and mind in a positive manner to develop the physical and mental courage to act with conviction.
6. Forgiveness Needs Strength
One needs to be mentally strong and magnanimous to forgive and forget sins against oneself. You do not have to retaliate blindly when someone offends you. Try to solve the issue in a peaceful manner without feeling animosity. Look at the positive aspects of other people instead of dwelling your mind on their negative traits.
7. You are in Control
Though fate determines what occurs to you, you are still in control as you decide how to react to people and events. So do not take things to heart, and find solace in the thought that God ensures that everything happens for the best. Put your best effort in crisis situations, and react with intelligence and equanimity when the going gets tough.
8. Improve Yourself Continuously
Learning and self-improvement are a continual process, and one should ideally try to become a better person with each passing day. Do not get stuck in the rut of routine and boredom, but keep your mind open and active by trying to learn something new continuously. This can help you maintain interest and enthusiasm in your daily life.
9. The Means is More Important than the End
Gandhi believed that one's journey to the goal is more important than the goal itself. That is why he followed the noble method of non-violent protest to fight the British. Gandhi showed that however important one's goal may be, it is virtuous to adopt honest and upright means to reach it.
10. Persevere Stoically
Gandhi's noble struggle did not meet with instant success. The British stuck on to India for decades after Gandhi launched his non-violent movement. But the gracious leader persevered with great courage and conviction, and did not rest till his nation's dreams were fulfilled.
Gandhi's brave and successful struggle for Indian independence started the end of British colonialism. He proved that one small man can create big change with his exemplary principles and character. One can learn from his example, and lead a simple and productive life of courage and high moral values, that is fulfilling to oneself and inspires others too.