Habits That Made Gandhi Great
Mahatma Gandhi, one of my heroes was a man who helped liberate nearly 350 million people from the yoke of slavery and the colonial occupation by throwing the British out of India.
Unlike the carnage and bloodshed of World War 2, he did this without a shot being fired. What’s even more remarkable is that he did this in roughly 20 years after landing in India.
The biggest secret of his success were his incredible habits that helped him achieve this.
Some of these may well be impossible for us to implement but even if we can do one, it will transform our life.
1. Solemn vows to avoid vice – Before leaving for England he took the vows on his mother to abstain from alcohol, meat and women. This ensured that in the tough environment in Britain, nothing distracted him from his purpose of becoming a barrister.
The vows for us may be different but all of us have vices that prevent our success – procrastination, too much internet, TV, alcohol, smoking. What can we take a solemn vow to avoid that will help us today?
2. Reading – Gandhi read everything. He read the Gita, the Quran, the Bible, books by famous authors, newspapers and magazines. He expanded his mental horizon beyond the obvious by doing so. Can you begin by spending 10 minutes reading something new every day?
3. Writing – Gandhi saw it as his moral purpose to share his views with the Indian people. Hence, he wrote almost 50,000 pages across his lifetime, hundreds of books, countless letters every day and edited many newspapers for many years.
This was blogging before there was the internet. Can you write a diary or start a blog or write a weekly article in a magazine to share your thoughts and views?
4. Fasting – Gandhi used the ancient technique of fasting for many purposes. He used this to protest against the British government who often gave in to his moral superiority. He used it for penance when he thought he had made a mistake. It’s also a fantastic way to lose weight, develop more self-control and become healthier when done for one to three days.
5. Service – Gandhi spent his life serving the poorest of the poor. He carried human soil on his head, cleaned his ashram with his own hands, spun the wheel to make cotton cloth for himself. He served others all his life in a spirit of giving.
He had many flaws but had many great qualities too. What quality can we embrace from him? Perhaps, one of the above?
This article was originally published on Leaderonomics.com.
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