Human values :Lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers, administrators
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, or Mahatma Gandhi as he is fondly called, was the greatest political figure in India’s history. Hailed as the Father of the Nation, Gandhi inspired Indians with his non-violent movements for civil rights and freedom from the British rule. He had an outstanding approach fighting for the rights of the people. Gandhi was an inspiration for many and a claimant of truth and simplicity. His autobiography, ‘My Experiments with Truth’, gives a detailed insight into his life from the time he was a child. The life of Mahatma Gandhi is full of lessons that still inspire people across the world. Here are top 10 lessons to learn from Mahatma’s life:
We become what we think: Gandhi said that we are the expression of our own thoughts. If we think we will fail and will not reach our goal then our own definition of success can never be realised. Positive and negative thoughts together bombard our minds, but we should try to eliminate the negative ones and retain the positives. Our thoughts shape our nature and, therefore, we become what we think.
Never give up and be consistent: Mahatma Gandhi never gave up; he was imprisoned several times but he fought consistently fought for freedom. In the same way we should persistently pursue whatever goals we have set for ourselves until we reach our intended destination and achieve our dreams. It is befitting to have a great plan so that we can see the success through it. And consistency always helps us in realizing our dreams.
Action speaks the priority: If the goal in our life is very important and we are not taking any step to complete or fulfil that goal then we need to reassess our priorities. This depicts that we are not serious in completing our goal and we have not evaluated our objective closely. If this is the reason then we must run through the priorities and take the necessary action to reach those goals.
Route to goal is as divine as goal itself: Mahatma Gandhi was a man of strong character. He didn’t employ any method to achieve independence that was against his conscience. He upheld non-violence as the most potent weapon for India’s independence. Gandhi always kept his inner conscience above everything. We, too, should follow a moral path to meet our dreams and reach our destination. And not that way which can bring any ingloriousness.
An honest ‘No’ is better than a dishonest ‘Yes’: People often say ‘Yes’ instead of ‘No’ out of compulsion or simply to appease the other. They often confabulate or take part in activities and dealings without a personal interest. Gandhi said that saying yes when you actually do not mean it can lead you nowhere. On the other hand it creates a drift, indignation and umbrage amongst the people whom you have been closed once. So, a yes must always be expressed with a strong conviction.
Peace is within and not affected by outside circumstances: Do we really seek peace within ourselves? The answer will, most probably, be ‘No’ because we have defined peace by external and delusive factors. We meet someone for the first time and his opinion matters to us so much that our confidence pulverizes. Instead we should try to do introspection and listen to our inner voice and find peace within unaffected by outside forces.
Happiness is anything done with harmony: Happiness and harmony in today’s world is very unimaginable and superlative. Living in harmony is something that we can achieve and it is something that is composed with our values. If our own values have difference then we will not be able to reach the level of harmony. Mahatma Gandhi concluded that only when our thoughts, actions and words are balanced and connected to each other, can we achieve true harmony.
Forgiveness is the component of the strong and not of weak: To forgive the person who has hurt you once is not easy. It takes great courage to exonerate and move ahead in life. But he who is able to do so is truly a man of great and strong values. If we don’t forgive then we make a fence of disapprobation around us and it is difficult to continue in life. We should forgive and forget other people’s mistake to lead an uncomplicated life.
Mental strength is more important than physical: Strength can be in various forms. In life it is more important to have a strong mind – also called will power – than a super strong body. A man with a strong will can literally move mountains even if he may not be a Hercules. Strength is choosing what is right despite the choice being difficult. Gandhi was not a physically strong man but it was his sheer will power that forced the British on their knees.
Change yourself before you wish to see the change in the world: Gandhi said that before we expect to see our desired qualities in others, we should assimilate them in ourselves. We all are wonderful and extremely beautiful from the inside and the more we will see the same thing in others, we shall get the same in return. We should be loving and kind towards everyone and we will be able to see the amazing world outside.
Research now shows that when you are compassionate, you experience a similar feeling of pleasure as when you have sex, good food or a relaxing holiday. Basically, showing compassion is good for your health. Take compassionate action and get the “giver’s high.” Benefits are reduced stress, more regular heart beat and improved immune system. You can show compassion by understanding the person’s feelings and emotions. That means talking to them and trying to share what they are going through. It is more demanding than a mere act of kindness. If you are compassionate, you are going to get emotionally involved. You also ask what help is needed. You could apply this to:
- A friend who is ill
- Someone who has lost their job
- A relative who has been bereaved
- Someone going through a separation
- A homeless person
Be kind and help others
Being kind and generous costs little and the benefits you gain in happiness are considerable. That was the conclusion that Michael Norton and colleagues at the Harvard Business School came to, after doing some very interesting research. The volunteers who gave away some money were happier than those who had spent it on themselves.
In the rat race, the one thing you really want at the end of the day is the capacity to find happiness. When he was interviewed about this, the Dalai Lama said that we are bombarded with messages about material possessions. There are very few messages about forgiving, being compassionate, patient, tolerant, and kind. You really have to give those values top priority in order to be happy.
Don’t argue or fight; just negotiate
“Non-violence means dialogue, using our language, the human language. Dialogue means compromise; respecting each other’s rights; in the spirit of reconciliation there is a real solution to conflict and disagreement. There is no hundred percent winner, no hundred percent loser—not that way but half-and-half. That is the practical way, the only way.”
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