I’m not really sure where the idea for this post came from but I can tell you that I am in the process of deciding which autobiography on Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi I am about to start reading.
I am not the most faithful of people out there – but I believe that I have a responsibility to be a good person, have charity towards others, and lead by example. I plan on learning some things about Gandhi because I am familiar with a great many of his quotes but I would like to go deeper. I thought I would share some of my favorites – ones that I think about and that guide me in my own pattern of personal behavior.
Continue to grow and evolve
“Constant development is the law of life, and a man who always tries to maintain his dogmas in order to appear consistent drives himself into a false position”
You can always improve the things you do but this is about challenging the way you always think about things. Re-evaluate the things you have already evaluated. I am aware that I can be somewhat argumentative at times during casual conversations but I like to pick the side of a debate that is contrary to my beliefs and see what happens. You might be surprised how less judgemental you become when you are constantly trying to see things the way someone else does.
Be who you are, your true self
“Always aim at complete harmony of thought and word and deed. Always aim at purifying your thoughts and everything will be well.”
This was important for me when I started writing this blog. There are lots of things I think but I would never put them down here. Trying to find the balance between being honest with strangers and letting your opinions be available for scrutiny isn’t as easy as one might think. The only way I think this is possible is by always being myself – for better or worse. I rarely feel bad about what I put up here for everyone else to read and I almost never get nasty comments or emails – it’s because I don’t court that sort of thing and I try to treat people they way I would want to be treated.
Everyone is human
“It is unwise to be too sure of one’s own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err.”
Even though this quote is from Gandhi, I learned this lesson from my wife Michelle. A very long time ago, back before we got married, I was complaining about someone and she calmed me down and told me that everyone can have a bad day, everyone can make a mistake. It sounds really obvious but I hadn’t ever taken the time to think about what that might actually mean. As a result, I rarely get upset when people do something that really creates a problem for me, everybody is human and makes mistakes. I look for patterns of behavior now before I get upset.
Stay the course and believe in yourself
“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”
This is another way of being told to be persistent – which requires you to believe in yourself and what you are doing. Some days it’s the only way I find the motivation to do what I do. You have to focus on the ‘why’ you are doing something and not necessarily the how.
Forgive and forget
“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”
This is also something that I learned from my wife after she pointed out early in our marriage that I spent a crazy amount of time worrying about doing the right thing as oerceived by others. It was simple things like trying to get a birthday card to someone before their birthday because if I didn’t, I would be judged as a bad friend. I made sure that I did the right thing but if that person didn’t get me a birthday card by my birthday?! Well, that’s not healthy thinking ….. you need to let that stuff go. That pattern of thinking is not doing anybody any good and if you don’t let go of your attention towards the actions of someone else then you are letting them control how you feel. Forgive, forget, and move on with doing what you need to be doing.
Live long and prosper,