Archives For Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma-Gandhi-GandhijiI was in 8th grade, when I had first heard of Mahatma Gandhi. As the closing of the school year drew near our class was tasked, as all graduating 8th graders were, with the responsibility to choose an inspirational quote that we would adopt as our years slogan. Earlier that year we had studied India and its history. Of course, one can’t go living let alone reading a history book about India, without becoming familiar with Mahatma Gandhi. Though fascinating he was, I wonder if any of our class understood then just who this man was, and what he had accomplished. Nonetheless he became one of the more interesting subjects we had covered and his quote, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” became our slogan.

Quite the interesting message for a gang of 13 and 14 year-olds whose primary concerns are puberty and allowance money. However even at that age that quote sparked a plethora of questions and ideas that have lead me to where I am today; sitting in my office writing this Quotesense piece, learning and living.

Originally this segment was to be connected with Napoleon Hill’s next chapter, The Mystery of Sex Transmutation, which I know you all were excited to dive into, but something came up. October 6th commemorates the release of John C. Maxwell’s new book, Intentional Living, and fortunately I have been able to get a sneak peek into the books first three chapters. And that’s where I ran across Mr. Gandhi’s words, or so I thought.

While ginned up on the book, my dad and I began to discuss the content and the quote in particular. Such simple words for such a simple message that should be simply understood but is tremendously difficult for some to follow. After mentioning my difficulty finding a quote that would stick in correlation to Mr. Hill’s chapter, he suggested that I keep it simple and explore Gandhi’s words. Yet in doing so, I came across an interesting discovery that both pleased and disappointed me.

Now, let me say, my pleasure in writing these Quotesense pieces is the learning I get out of what lay behind the words that make the quote. What emotion, what circumstance prompted these words that so many look to for influence? And though in looking into the history of these words, sometimes I don’t find what I expect.

Anyone who tries to search for the history behind the words, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” might be in for a surprise when they discover that not only does anyone know when those words were spoken, there is no documentation that those words ever came from Gandhi himself. At least not like that. Instead, the closest attribution in relation to Gandhi is found in a segment of a chapter in volume 13 of Gandhi’s Complete Works. Chapter 153 – GENERAL KNOWLEDGE ABOUT HEALTH [-XXXII]; 12. ACCIDENTS: SNAKE-BITE:

“We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.”

So how did that other abridged, reworded phrase come from this? Well, the excerpt from the volume probably couldn’t fit on a bumper sticker as easily, which is where the only known origin of that shortened quote. Though it is still a good message, it is unfortunate that many, including myself, are unaware of the full message.

The chapter this passage is found in starts out with Gandhi breaking down the reasoning behind man’s fear of snakes and how some cultures value these creatures over others. In true Gandhi fashion the entry becomes very poignant as what starts as a brief history lesson turns to a teaching moment that will have the reader doing a double take at the true meaning of the instructions to avoiding poisonous bites from snakes.

“It has also been demonstrated through experiments that if any poison gets into the system of one who is nervous or in a rage, the effect is instantaneous and more potent. Everyone can discover for himself that, when frightened or angered, the pulse is faster and the heart-beats increase. Whenever the blood circulates at a greater speed, it becomes hot. Heat generated by anger, etc., is unnatural and, therefore, deleterious. There is no reason to doubt that rage is a kind of fever.”

With over 90 volumes of wisdom, anyone should check out a slice of the pie that is The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi. I feel fortunate to have found this little treasure of information and plan to share it. However it was not the only valuable jewel I found this week.

As I mentioned earlier, I have been lucky enough to get a look inside John C. Maxwell’s new book, Intentional Living: Choosing a Life That Matters, and am truly excited to explore the rest of the text! In just three chapters I have been enlightened to what John is calling a worldwide movement, involving those who live intentionally by adding value not to just everyone, but mostly to yourself by making a difference. Being a part of the difference not because you want to but because you have to. It’s amazing how common sense is so easily shadowed in the part of us that is afraid to not only find it but believe in it. But something we all need reminding of is, it can be easy to do something.

I encourage anyone to follow along with John while he shares stories of others who have started small but believed big. This book isn’t just another self-help text, or leadership guide. Though it is easily guised as such, this book is a call to action. A summoning of the common good we all have in us to think before we speak and avoid the poisonous snakes.

Intentional Living, Choosing a Life That Matters

Though religion is a driving force and catalyst behind John’s message, he encourages those who do not share the same views to skip any sections he proceeds to speak on behalf of his beliefs because this isn’t about what religion you believe in. It doesn’t matter what your nationality, or sexuality or political stance is. It’s about the bigger picture. The one that includes everyone and doesn’t crop out anyone who wants to be part of it.

If you’re interested in how someone like Carrie Rich turned a $100 cash gift to $6000 and then to $2,000,000 in the blink of an eye, or how a teenager by the name of Celine is changing the lives of others her age by supplying them with education, then you need to read this book.

Begin creating your own story, and ensure you’re on the path to greatness. Make your life significant.

-David Joseph Leingang

What do you desire? Is it that trip you’ve always dreamed of or that million dollars you can live comfortably on for the rest of your life? If you don’t know what your desires are, are you living life by design or by default. Without a driving desire do we let our life just slip by?

Napoleon Hill in his book “Think and Grow Rich” states that desire is the starting point to all achievement, it’s the first step to riches. Why does he make such a bold statement? Because without desire you can’t even get out of bed in the morning, less suffer criticism and setbacks while achieving it.

People with a strong desire to accomplish something have changed the world. Abraham Lincoln, Nelson Mandela, and Gandhi are a few names that come to mind. What makes them different from the common person? Their desire to make a difference outweighed their desire to protect their own ego or security.

I think we would all agree that there is both good and bad desires. But what really makes them good or bad, is it what that desire does for us? Sure the bad desires may make us feel good in the short term, but they eventually creep up on us and let us know why they were ultimately bad desires.

I used to enjoy drinking alcohol. I had a desire to consume it because it made me feel good in the short term. But when I started to evaluate the effects of my drinking on the long term, I realized those short term desires for alcohol was actually bad desires. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not against alcohol consumption, as long as it’s not in excess and creates bad consequences.

Bad desires usually result in harming other people. A desire to be wealthy isn’t bad unless you do it at the expense of others. Some people criticize all wealthy people, I criticize the ones that become wealthy at the expense of others.

So how do you turn your personal desires into positive desires? You need to move from concentrating on success and focus on increasing your significance.

Success may be going to school to get a college education, it will add to your personal success. It’s significant if you become a tutor while going to school and help other students be more successful.

When you’re pursuing your desires you become successful, but when you use your success to help others become successful you become significant.

Like most things in life, desires are achieved by adopting habits.

Some desires are the result of good habits and some desires are the result of bad habits.

Habits form to our satisfy our desires, if you desire something strong enough you will develop habits to fulfill that desire. In order to break free from bad habits you need to see the negative side of the desire. In James Allen book “Man: King of Mind, Body, and Circumstances” he states;

“A man is powerless to overcome the wrong and unhappy elements in himself only so long as he regards himself as powerless. If to the bad habit is added the thought “I cannot,” the bad habit will remain. Nothing can be overcome till the thought of powerlessness is uprooted and abolished from the mind.”

In order to break bad habits and unhealthy desires you have to develop the ability to control your mind, and in controlling your mind you control YOU!

Here are my final thoughts on desire to close out december’s thought letter and year 2014. I ask many people throughout the year what their goals are, and most don’t set any. This tells me that they really don’t have any desires. If you had a desire for something wouldn’t you set a goal to achieve it?

The assignment for the rest of the month is to make a list of your desires, what do you want most out of life? Does it consist of adding value to others, or only yourself?

Next month is the beginning of a new season in your life, start to think of what seeds of success you want to plant and grow throughout the year in order to achieve that desire

When you think about the word value, you can give it two different meanings. The first meaning is material; what is the value of a product or service and what are you willing to pay for it? What’s the monetary value of the exchange? The second definition of value is spiritual. What beliefs do you have to guide you through life? Unfortunately most people don’t put a ‘value’ on their own values, and they wonder why they can’t become prosperous.

Personal values, like the physical value of an object, may have no monetary value yet still cost something. Personal values are purchased through sacrifices to strengthen the level of value you seek to achieve.

If someone values themselves more than others, they will put a lower price (worth) on other individuals, and in turn lose the ability to influence those people to their own ideas and purpose.

So, if a person values others more than themselves, they not only have themselves to pursue their purpose, but also those that they show who they value more than themselves. In turn when you show others you value them by caring for them they help you pursue your own dreams. As Zig Ziglar said, “If you help enough people get what they want they’ll help you get what you want.”

If a person has a lower set of values they seem to expect others to display a higher level of value towards them. Those who lie, cheat and steal don’t like it when people lie, cheat and steal from them. But in reality they receive what they themselves value.

You cannot receive what you do not give. It’s called the Law of Attraction.

Some people place a different level of values in different areas of their lives. The more physical or spiritual value they believe they’ll receive is the level of value they place on it. I can think of four different areas that our values may be at different levels;

  • Family Values
  • Work Values
  • Personal Values
  • Spiritual Values

If you value your family more than money, you’ll resist working long hours, sacrificing money for family time. Although at times a person may need to do so in order to properly provide for their family. If this is the case there may be other values that keep them in that state.

The person who is untrue to themselves will struggle to keep the same level of values between the different areas of their life. They may never lie to their boss for fear of losing their job and income, but they’ll lie to their spouse in order to fulfill their own pleasures. This is obvious when someone suffers from a lack of will power and become slaves to a specific addiction.  If I lose my job I won’t be able to afford the prostitute or the addictive substance. But, that addiction may lead to a divorce.

They value themselves and their addiction more than others. Addictions are powerful and take control of a person’s thoughts and ultimately their life. They become habits and habits can be changed when you change your values.

“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi

If you value health and life more than the simple pleasures of alcohol or tobacco, you won’t abuse them.

Let’s reflect for a moment on the most commonly known value, one that most religions and cultures share, the Golden Rule. Here’s a few; (1)

  • Brahmanism“Do naught unto others which would cause you pain if done to you”. Mahabharata, 5:1517 
  • Buddhism:  “Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.” Udana-Varga 5:18
  • Christianity“Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” Matthew 7:12, King James Version.
  • Confucianism: “Do not do to others what you do not want them to do to
     Analects 15:23
  • Ancient Egyptian: Do for one who may do for you, that you may cause him thus to do.” The Tale of the Eloquent Peasant,
  • Hinduism“Do not do to others what would cause pain if done to you.” Mahabharata 5:1517
  • Humanism: Don’t do things you wouldn’t want to have done to you.” British Humanist Society.
  • Islam“None of you [truly] believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself.” Number 13 of Imam “Al-Nawawi’sForty Hadiths.”
  • Judaism“…thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”, Leviticus 19:18
  • Native American Spirituality: “Do not wrong or hate your neighbor. For it is not he who you wrong, but yourself.” Pima proverb.
  • Roman Pagan Religion: “The law imprinted on the hearts of all men is to love the members of society as themselves.”
  • Taoism: “Regard your neighbor’s gain as your own gain, and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss.” T’ai Shang Kan Ying P’ien.

So it seems to me that most religions and cultures follow some form of the Golden Rule. Then why does it seem like society is slowly getting worse? Seventy percent of Americans report that they believe American values are getting worse and 46 percent say it won’t be better in ten years.(2)

Is this because we’re living the Golden Rule, but how we value ourselves is worse? If I treat myself with less respect and have lower values, then that’s what I expect from others. If I don’t take respect myself, or even trust myself, than how can I trust others.

Has the Golden Rule changed to “Do unto others before they do unto you!”

Now this would work if people where “Paying forward” with kindness and generosity. But that isn’t the mindset with some, they think, “Let me get you before you can get me.”

How sad, but I can understand why, can you?

Have you ever lied to yourself, promised that you would do something for you, but didn’t? If so, then why would we expect someone else not to lie to us?

It all starts with self, and sometimes in order to become more aware you need someone to ask you the right question;

“How can the values of trust and respect be given to you when you struggle to trust and respect yourself?”

What do you value? What promises (goals) have you made for yourself? Build your business, build better relationships, lose weight, become a better leader?

What are you doing to achieve it?


(1)  The Golden Rule: A list of two dozen versions.

(2) 21 Charts That Explain American Values Today.

“The sacrifice which causes sorrow to the doer of the sacrifice is no sacrifice. Real sacrifice lightens the mind of the doer and gives him a sense of peace and joy. The Buddha gave up the pleasures of life because they had become painful to him.”

~ Mahatma Gandhi

a boy's choice of a healthy or unhealthy snack

© Tom B – Fotolia

Is this quote about feeling guilty? Let’s take a look.“The sacrifice which causes sorrow to the doer of the sacrifice is no sacrifice.” If you are depressed because of the sacrifice, then it’s more regret then sacrifice. The dictionary defines regret as a feeling of sorry and sadness about something previously done or said that now appears wrong, mistaken, or hurtful to others. The dictionary defines sacrifice as giving up of something valuable or important for somebody or something else considered being of more value or importance.

Makes sense doesn’t it. You regret paying too much for a product or you regret helping someone who takes it for granted or wastes what you gave them.

But, if you sacrifice time, money, or career for something bigger, then initially you may feel the pain, but eventually the sacrifice will pay off, either financially or emotionally.

“Real sacrifice lightens the mind of the doer and gives him a sense of peace and joy.” Did you ever regret not making a sacrifice? What was the feeling? For me it’s disappointment in myself. What was the feeling when you sacrificed something and achieved your objective? I’m sure it wasn’t regret, but peace of mind knowing you didn’t give up and joy that you achieved your objective.

“The Buddha gave up the pleasures of life because they had become painful to him.” Why would your pleasures become painful? Why where they pleasures and what made them painful? Is it your own entitlement mindset?

What do you feel you’re entitled to? If someone takes it away do you get upset? Of course you do. Isn’t that human nature, survival? Unfortunately some people have a different idea what is actually needed to survive.

I believe the bottom line is, getting upset when you sacrifice something knowing that it could negatively impact others is called selfishness.

Isn’t it amazing how we can be selfish to ourselves and think of it as just living comfortably.