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Inspirational Quotations by Mohandas K. Gandhi (#652)

Inspirational Quotations by Mohandas Gandhi

Today marks the birthday of Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869–1948,) the apostle of peace and non-violence who said, “My life is my message.”

Around the world, this “Mahatma” (great soul) is idolized as a modern saint not only for his extraordinary public life as the leader of India’s peaceful struggle for independence, but also for his enduring philosophical contributions to humanity.

Gandhi was born into a family of modest means in the state of Gujarat. He was educated in British schools and earned a law degree in London. While working as an attorney in racially divided South Africa, he suffered discrimination in its full force. As dramatized in Richard Attenborough’s superb Gandhi, Gandhi was pushed off a train when he did not relocate from its first class coach. That particular incident made him politically active. During his 21 years in South Africa, he found his calling, experimented with nonviolent resistance, and vehemently fought against anti-Indian legislation in South Africa.

Gandhi then returned to India and organized peasants and workers against land taxes and subjugation. He led a series of nonviolent campaigns as the leader of the Indian crusade for home rule. He frequently resorted to hunger strikes not only in protest of British colonialism but also against hostility between India’s Hindus and Muslims. When Great Britain granted independence in 1947, the partition of India along religious lines led Gandhi to declare his life a failure because India could not govern itself as one nation but instead gave in to the division.

Inspirational Quotations by Mahatma Gandhi Within months after India’s independence, a Hindu fanatic assassinated Gandhi while he was on his way to evening prayers in Delhi. At his funeral procession, American radio journalist Edward Murrow broadcast, “The object of this massive tribute died as he had always lived—a private man without wealth, without property, without official title or office. Mahatma Gandhi was not a commander of armies nor ruler of vast lands. He could not boast any scientific achievements or artistic gift. Yet men, governments and dignitaries from all over the world have joined hands today to pay homage to this little brown man in the loincloth who led his country to freedom.”

Gandhi is one of the most-biographed people in the history of the world. Physicist Albert Einstein once said, “Generations to come will scarce believe that such a one as this ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth.”

'Gandhi An Autobiography' by Mohandas Gandhi (ISBN 0807059099) Gandhi inspired Martin Luther King, Jr., Nelson Mandela, Aung San Suu Kyi, the 14th Dalai Lama, and political leaders who resist oppressive regimes. He was also a prolific writer; his most famous work is his autobiography, The Story of My Experiments with Truth (1940.)

Gandhi is the political and spiritual father of modern India. Beyond the common reverence of Gandhi as a freedom-struggle leader, he is also venerated for his philosophy of life. He advocated virtue, simple living, nonviolence, and vegetarianism. He expounded a nonviolent way of life in which people can recognize themselves as God’s children, irrespective of religion and culture, and live the life of absolute truth, universal love, and righteous justice. He presented this as an alternative to a Western culture overflowing with consumerism, individualism, competition, and inequality.

Gandhi said, “When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it—always.”

Inspirational Quotations by Mohandas K. Gandhi

It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of non-violence to coyer impotence.
Mohandas K. Gandhi

For me the different religions are beautiful flowers from the same garden, or they are branches of the same majestic tree.
Mohandas K. Gandhi

In judging myself I shall try to be as harsh as truth, as I want others also to be.
Mohandas K. Gandhi

The essence of all religions is one. Only their approaches are different.
Mohandas K. Gandhi

Jealousy does not wait for reasons.
Mohandas K. Gandhi

You assist an evil system most effectively by obeying its orders and decrees. An evil system never deserves such allegiance. Allegiance to it means partaking of the evil. A good person will resist an evil system with his whole soul. Disobedience of the laws of an evil state is therefore a duty.
Mohandas K. Gandhi

A man of truth must also be a man of care.
Mohandas K. Gandhi

One of the objects of a newspaper is to understand popular feeling and to give expression to it; another is to arouse among the people certain desirable sentiments; and the third is fearlessly to expose popular defects.
Mohandas K. Gandhi

A man who was completely innocent, offered himself as a sacrifice for the good of others, including his enemies, and became the ransom of the world. It was a perfect act.
Mohandas K. Gandhi

The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problems.
Mohandas K. Gandhi

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.
Mohandas K. Gandhi

I am prepared to die, but there is no cause for which I am prepared to kill.
Mohandas K. Gandhi

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.
Mohandas K. Gandhi

Power is of two kinds. One is obtained by the fear of punishment and the other by acts of love. Power based on love is a thousand times more effective and permanent then the one derived from fear of punishment.
Mohandas K. Gandhi

If I believe I cannot do something, it makes me incapable of doing it, when I believe I can, then I acquire the ability to do it, even if I did not have the ability in the beginning.
Mohandas K. Gandhi

Prayer is not an old woman’s idle amusement. Properly understood and applied, it is the most potent instrument of action.
Mohandas K. Gandhi

Always believe in your dreams, because if you don’t, you’ll still have hope.
Mohandas K. Gandhi

Anger is the enemy of non-violence and pride is a monster that swallows it up.
Mohandas K. Gandhi

Non-cooperation with evil is a sacred duty.
Mohandas K. Gandhi

Nothing can be more hurtful to an honourable man than that he should be accused of bad faith.
Mohandas K. Gandhi

One golden rule is to accept the interpretation honestly put on the pledge by the party administering it.
Mohandas K. Gandhi

Whenever you are confronted with an opponent, conquer him with love.
Mohandas K. Gandhi

Non-violence is not a garment to be put on and off at will. Its seat is in the heart, and it must be inseparable part of our very being.
Mohandas K. Gandhi

Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.
Mohandas K. Gandhi

Religions are different roads converging to the same point. What does it matter that we take different road, so long as we reach the same goal. Wherein is the cause for quarrelling?
Mohandas K. Gandhi

Providence has its appointed hour for everything. We cannot command results, we can only strive.
Mohandas K. Gandhi

Faith is not a delicate flower which would wither away under the slightest stormy weather.
Mohandas K. Gandhi

Today I know that physical training should have as much place in the curriculum as mental training.
Mohandas K. Gandhi

Victory attained by violence is tantamount to a defeat, for it is momentary.
Mohandas K. Gandhi

An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it. Truth stands, even if there be no public support. It is self sustained.
Mohandas K. Gandhi

Nothing is impossible for pure love.
Mohandas K. Gandhi

The main purpose of life is to live rightly, think rightly, act rightly. The soul must languish when we give all our thought to the body.
Mohandas K. Gandhi

Prayer is the key of the morning and the bolt of the evening.
Mohandas K. Gandhi

A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history.
Mohandas K. Gandhi

The cry for peace will be a cry in the wilderness, so long as the spirit of nonviolence does not dominate millions of men and women.
Mohandas K. Gandhi

Man should forget his anger before he lies down to sleep.
Mohandas K. Gandhi

If one has no affection for a person or a system, one should feel free to give the fullest expression to his disaffection so long as he does not contemplate, promote, or incite violence.
Mohandas K. Gandhi

Nonviolence is the first article of my faith. It is also the last article of my creed.
Mohandas K. Gandhi

If you don’t ask, you don’t get.
Mohandas K. Gandhi

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.
Mohandas K. Gandhi

Truth alone will endure, all the rest will be swept away before the tide of time. I must continue to bear testimony to truth even if I am forsaken by all. Mine may today be a voice in the wilderness, but it will be heard when all other voices are silenced, if it is the voice of Truth.
Mohandas K. Gandhi

There is a sufficiency in the world for man’s need but not for man’s greed.
Mohandas K. Gandhi

When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible but in the end, they always fall—think of it, always.
Mohandas K. Gandhi

The weak can’t forgive. Forgiveness is of the strong.
Mohandas K. Gandhi

They cannot take away our self-respect if we do not give it to them.
Mohandas K. Gandhi

A man is but the product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes.
Mohandas K. Gandhi

Gandhi on the Doctrine of Ahimsa + Non-Violence in Buddhism


Non-Violence in Buddhism

“Thou shalt not kill.” This command forbids committing murder—specifically slaying a fellow human. The seventh of the Torah’s Ten Commandments (the Decalogue) allows for the execution of animals.

Non-Violence in Buddhism This specific tenet can be interpreted as comparatively lenient, even indulgent, compared to the mainstream Hinduism and the derivative Jain and Buddhist philosophies. Within these contexts, non-violence is a fundamental building block of ethics. Naturally, this idea of refraining from cruelty proscribes murder, but it also surpasses that guideline. In fact, practicing pacifism deters all varieties of violence against any sentient being, be it a human or an animal. Under the rule of non-violence, these creatures are protected from aggression, hostility, cruelty, sadism, and savagery—all unacceptable forms of conduct.

In accordance with the concept of anatta (the idea of there being no self,) Buddhism teaches us that, should we cling to the illusion of possessing autonomous ‘selves,’ we will fail to fully comprehend non-violence. Upon removal of the sense of the individual self, inflicting damage on another in turn damages the perpetrator. Should you inflict violence upon another, you too will suffer its effects.

Gandhi on the Doctrine of Ahimsa

Violence is the utmost form of asserting oneself over another. An alternative to aggression is Ahimsa or non-violence. This peaceful method was recognized as an entirely credible ethical code when Gandhi adopted it. He took up non-violence in his struggle against injustice and oppression, first as a peace leader in South Africa and then as the leader of India’s independence movement. Gandhi’s own definition of Ahimsa is as follows:

'Mahatma Gandhi: Essays and Reflections on His Life and Work' Edited by S. Radhakrishnan (ISBN 1553940261) Literally speaking, Ahimsa means “non-killing.” But to me it has a world of meaning, and takes me into realms much higher, infinitely higher. It really means that you may not offend anybody; you may not harbor an uncharitable thought, even in connection with one who may consider himself to be your enemy. To one who follows this doctrine there is no room for an enemy. But there may be people who consider themselves to be his enemies. So it is held that we may not harbor an evil thought even in connection with such persons. If we return blow for blow we depart from the doctrine of Ahimsa. But I go farther. If we resent a friend’s action, or the so-called enemy’s action, we still fall short of this doctrine. But when I say we should not resent, I do not say that we should acquiesce: by the word “resenting” I mean wishing that some harm should be done to the enemy; or that he should be put out of the way, not even by any action of ours, but by the action of somebody else, or, say, by divine agency. If we harbor even this thought we depart from this doctrine of Non-Violence.

Source: ‘Mahatma Gandhi: Essays and Reflections on His Life and Work’ edited by S. Radhakrishnan

Source of Mohandas K. Gandhi’s Quote, ‘You Must be the Change’

Mahatma Gandhi on Change

Today, (30-Jan-08,) is the 60th anniversary of the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. A few months after India secured her independence from Britain, an extremist shot Gandhi point-blank after a prayer meeting at the Birla House in Delhi. Richard Attenborough’s much-admired motion picture ‘Gandhi’ narrates this event twice: once at the start of the movie illustrating the assassin walking towards Gandhi and a second time at the end of the movie depicting Gandhi walking out from the prayer meeting and facing the assassin.

A Quote, a Fable

One of Mahatma Gandhi’s most popular quotations is, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” Here is a widely believed — although unverified — story of the origin of this quotation.

During the 1930s, a young boy had become obsessed with eating sugar. His mother failed to convince him to kick the habit. She decided to take him to Gandhi. The Mahatma (Great Soul) was highly revered across the country — perhaps his instruction could convince her son to cut back on sugar.

At Gandhi’s ashram (hermitage,) the mother recounted her difficulty and requested Gandhi to direct her son. Gandhi deliberated for a minute and replied, “Please come back after a week. I will talk to your son.”

The mother and her son revisited Gandhi the following week. Gandhi smiled at the boy and directed him, “You must stop eating sugar.” The boy admitted, “Forgive me, bapu (father.) I will follow your advice.”

The mother was puzzled. She enquired, “Bapu, you could have asked my son to stop eating sugar when we visited you last week. Why did you ask us to come back this week?” Gandhi answered, “Ben (Sister,) last week, I, too, was eating a lot of sugar. … You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Effective Leaders ‘Walk the Talk’

Consider the following case. Ian joined a financial services company and assumed leadership of a group of analysts. In his first staff meeting, he declared, “Our people are our greatest asset.” He asserted that his primary objective as the manager of the organization was to keep them engaged, motivated and happy.

When one of Ian’s employees returned to work after a three-month maternity leave (she had had her first child,) Ian never enquired her about her child or her experiences. Becoming a mother was the most significant event of her life to date. The day she returned to work, Ian assigned her critical projects and demanded her full attention to these projects. Clearly, Ian’s behavior was incongruent with his stated mission of appreciating his people.

As the above example illustrates, frequently, leaders announce personal and organizational values and goals but fail to act on their words — their behaviors do not match their stated missions. Defining values and goals is often rather easy — conforming and getting others to conform to these initiatives is challenging. Leaders quickly lose their credibility by failing to ‘walk the talk.’

Call for Action

Audit yourself. At home or work, write down your objectives. Reflect on your actions. Analyze your behaviors. Do your actions uphold your objectives? Gather feedback from your people. Ask what you can do to achieve your objectives. Ask how you can walk your talk.

Inspirational Quotations #706

If we put the emphasis upon the right things, if we live the life that is worth while and then fail, we will survive all disasters, we will out-live all misfortune. We should be so well balanced and symmetrical, that nothing which could ever happen could throw us off our center, so that no matter what misfortune should overtake us, there would still be a whole magnificent man or woman left after being stripped of everything else.
Orison Swett Marden

A little neglect may breed great mischief. For want of a nail, the shoe was lost; for want of a shoe, the horse was lost; and for want of a horse, the rider was lost; being overtaken, and slain by the enemy. All for want of care about a horse-shoe nail.
Benjamin Franklin

In historic events, the so-called great men are labels giving names to events, and like labels they have but the smallest connection with the event itself. Every act of theirs, which appears to them an act of their own will, is in an historical sense involuntary and is related to the whole course of history and predestined from eternity.
Leo Tolstoy

Faith is a function of the heart. It must be enforced by reason. The two are not antagonistic as some think. The more intense one’s faith is, the more it whet’s one’s reason. When faith becomes blind it dies.
Mohandas K. Gandhi

If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.
Albert Einstein

The underdog often starts the fight, and occasionally the upper dog deserves to win.
E. W. Howe

To live in the presence of great truths and eternal laws, to be led by permanent ideals—that is what keeps a man patient when the world ignores him, and calm and unspoiled when the world praises him.
Honore de Balzac

The future is an opaque mirror. Anyone who tries to look into it sees nothing but the dim outlines of an old and worried face.
Jim Bishop

Knowledge cultivates your seeds and does not sow in you seeds.
Khalil Gibran

The truth is found when men are free to pursue it.
Franklin D. Roosevelt

Love is the strongest force the world possesses, and yet it is the humblest imaginable.
Mohandas K. Gandhi

Inspirational Quotations #705

Experience is the only prophecy of wise men.
Alphonse de Lamartine

Science is nothing but trained and organized common sense, differing from the latter only as a veteran may from a raw recruit, and its methods differ from those of common sense, only as the guardsman’s cut and thrust differ from the manner in which a savage wields his club.
Thomas Henry Huxley

I am searching for that which every man seeks—peace and rest.
Dante Alighieri

We are born to action; and whatever is capable of suggesting and guiding action has power over us from the first.
Charles Cooley

Interdependence is and ought to be as much the ideal of man as self-sufficiency. Man is a social being.
Mohandas K. Gandhi

Waste no more time talking about great souls and how they should be. Become one yourself!
Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus

When sorrows come, they come not single spies, but in battalions.
William Shakespeare

The minute a man ceases to grow, no matter what his years, that minute he begins to be old.
William James

It isn’t for the moment you are struck that you need courage, but for the long uphill climb back to sanity and faith and security.
Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Consciousness is a phase of mental life which arises in connection with the formation of new habits. When habit is formed, consciousness only interferes to spoil our performance.
William Ralph Inge

The average man never really thinks from end to end of his life. The mental activity of such people is only a mouthing of cliches.
H. L. Mencken

No entertainment is so cheap as reading, nor any pleasure so lasting.
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu

One mustn’t criticize other people on grounds where he can’t stand perpendicular himself.
Mark Twain

We may make mistakes—but they must never be mistakes which result from faintness of heart or abandonment of moral principles.
Franklin D. Roosevelt

Censure is often useful, praise often deceitful.
Winston Churchill

Hope is the feeling we have that the feeling we have is not permanent.
Mignon McLaughlin

Boredom is the deadliest poison.
William F. Buckley, Jr.

When a man tells you that he got rich through hard work, ask him whose?
Don Marquis

How much easier it is to be critical than to be correct.
Benjamin Disraeli

Defeat is simply a signal to press onward.
Helen Keller

The money men make lives after them.
Samuel Butler

Inspirational Quotations #703

Every man who rises above the common level has received two educations: the first from his teachers; the second, more personal and important, from himself.
Edward Gibbon

No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.
Nelson Mandela

Economy is the art of making the most of life. The love of economy is the root of all virtue.
George Bernard Shaw

A man’s value to the community primarily depends on how far his feelings, thoughts, and actions are directed towards promoting the good of his fellows.
Albert Einstein

I reject any religious doctrine that does not appeal to reason and is in conflict with morality.
Mohandas K. Gandhi

No good work whatever can be perfect, and the demand for perfection is always a sign of a misunderstanding of the ends of art.
John Ruskin

All the greatest and most important problems of life are fundamentally insolvable. They can never be solved, but only outgrown.
Carl Jung

Doubt is uncomfortable, certainty is ridiculous.
Voltaire

No one can be a great thinker who does not recognize that as a thinker it is his first duty to follow his intellect to whatever conclusions it may lead.
John Stuart Mill

No man is happy unless he believes he is.
Publilius Syrus

Though men pride themselves on their great actions, often they are not the result of any great design, but of chance.
Francois de La Rochefoucauld

It is the cheerful mind that is persevering. It is the strong mind that hews its way through a thousand difficulties.
Swami Vivekananda

If a person gets his attitude toward money straight, it will help straighten out almost every other area in his life.
Billy Graham

Life, we learn too late, is in the living, in the tissue of every day and hour.
Stephen Leacock

The greatest obstacle to being heroic is the doubt whether one may not be going to prove one’s self a fool; the truest heroism is, to resist the doubt; and the profoundest wisdom, to know when it ought to be resisted, and when to be obeyed.
Nathaniel Hawthorne

Inspirational Quotations #699

When you think you can nail someone with your argument, take a breath & see if you can phrase it as a face-saving question.
Marty Nemko

Self-understanding, like happiness, is never fully achieved. It’s an on-going pursuit and sometimes excessive explicit focus hurts the cause.
Ben Casnocha

He who wants a rose must respect the thorn.
Persian Proverb

Is any man free except the one who can pass his life as he pleases?
Persius

Philosophy of science is about as useful to scientists as ornithology is to birds.
Richard Feynman

If we divine a discrepancy between a man’s words and his character, the whole impression of him becomes broken and painful; he revolts the imagination by his lack of unity, and even the good in him is hardly accepted.
Charles Cooley

The laughter of girls is, and ever was, among the delightful sounds of earth.
Thomas de Quincey

Where your heart is, there your heart be.
The Holy Bible

The desire for more and more wealth is dangerous. Cultivate the good sense to give up your desires. Wealth is the result of past deeds. Therefore be content with what you have.
Adi Shankaracharya

Look before you leap.
Common Proverb

The rich add riches to riches; the poor add years to years.
Chinese Proverb

Perfect happiness is the absence of striving for happiness.
Zhuangzi

The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will.
Vince Lombardi

Every man who has become great owes his achievement to incessant toil.
Mokshagundam Visvesvarayya

Suffering cheerfully endured, ceases to be|suffering and is transmuted into an ineffable joy.
Mohandas K. Gandhi

By correcting our mistakes, we get wisdom. By defending our faults, we betray an unsound mind.
Buddhist Teaching

The tests of life are not meant to break you, but to make you.
Norman Vincent Peale

We never make a decision. When the time is right, the decision makes itself.
Byron Katie

The true battlefield is within.
Mohandas K. Gandhi

“Crucible” Experiences Can Transform Your Leadership Skills

'Geeks and Geezers' by Warren Bennis (ISBN 1578515823) In Geeks and Geezers (2002), renowned leadership academic Warren Bennis and management consultant Robert Thomas interview 40 “geeks” (aged 21–34) and “geezers” (aged 70–82) to evaluate differences in their leadership values and success patterns.

The two groups vary in backgrounds, ambitions, and their role models. The geeks are more concerned with work-life balance than the geezers. The geezers formed their characters during the Great Depression and World War II and hence hold Franklin Roosevelt, Gandhi, Lincoln, Mandela, Kennedy, and Churchill as leadership role models. In contrast, the geeks tend to model themselves after their parents, friends, bosses, and co-workers.

Leadership “Crucibles”: Pivotal life-changing experiences that alter your thinking and actions

The statistics and analyses of geeks and geezers are a gross distraction from the book’s central idea: that all potential leaders must pass through a “leadership crucible” that provides an intense, transformational experience. Only after they “organize the meaning” of and draw significant lessons from their crucible experiences can they become leaders. They must also cultivate complementary leadership skills such as adaptive capacity and the ability to engage others by creating shared meaning, voice, and integrity.

All geeks and geezers interviewed by the authors had one thing in common: each had at least one leadership crucible. The authors explain that each experience was “a test and a decision point, where existing values were examined and strengthened or replaced, where alternative identities were considered and sometimes chosen, where judgment and other abilities were honed.”

The best leaders excel in their ability to create meaning out of adversity

Crucible Experiences Transform Leadership Skills Geeks and Geezers lays monolithic emphasis on the role of transformational crucible experiences in building leadership skills. The authors conclude that such experiences shape a leader; therefore, “great leaders are not born but made—often by tough, bitter experience.” The book implies that most leadership development initiatives (selection, training, mentoring, job rotation, etc.) are not as effective as they are touted to be. The book advises would-be leaders to develop themselves by seeking out crucible experiences at work, school, or in their communities to maximize their leadership potential.

One meaningful takeaway from Geeks and Geezers is a contemplative exercise: to reflect on some crucible experiences in the reader’s life and examine what he/she has learned from them. The reader may be able to create his/her own story and find his/her “leadership voice.”

Recommendation: Skim. Read the final chapter. Beyond the authors’ anecdote-heavy “research,” Geeks and Geezers will engage readers in interesting case studies of successful men and women who moved beyond the constraints imposed by trying circumstances and reshaped themselves. However, most of Geeks and Geezers lacks substance and practical application, especially in comparison to co-author Bennis’s bestseller On Becoming a Leader.

Choose Not to Be Offended, and You Will Not Be: What the Stoics Taught

Choose Not to Be Offended, and You Will Not Be: What the Stoics Taught

When somebody offends you or causes you distress, think of the anxiety as their problem, not yours.

The Stoic philosophers taught that if you choose not to be offended by others’ actions, you will not be. An offense is up to your interpretation. Instead, treat others with kindness and assert your autonomy.

This moral is exemplified in the following clip from the movie Gandhi (1983) portraying racial discrimination in South Africa and Gandhi’s espousal of Christian values. A young Gandhi and his friend Charles Freer Andrews are walking in a Johannesburg suburb when they’re accosted by menacing louts who yell “Look what’s comin’!” and “A white shepherd leading a brown Sammy!” (Sammy—for swami—was a South African derogatory term for an Indian.) Despite Andrews’s misgivings, Gandhi strides along rather nervously and invokes the Christian principle of turning the other cheek. When one lout’s intentions of “cleaning up the neighborhood a little” are disrupted by his mother, Gandhi responds, “You’ll find there’s room for us all!”

Mastering an Offensive Situation Is Ultimately a Matter of Mastering Yourself

'Meditations: A New Translation' by Marcus Aurelius (ISBN 0812968255) In Meditations, the great Roman Emperor and Stoic Philosopher Marcus Aurelius wrote about taking responsibility for the things within your control:

Someone despises me. That’s their problem. Mine: not to do or say anything despicable. Someone hates me. Their problem. Mine: to be patient and cheerful with everyone, including them. Ready to show them their mistake. Not spitefully, or to show off my own self-control, but in an honest, upright way.

Marcus Aurelius counsels compassion for those who offend you:

When people injure you, ask yourself what good or harm they thought would come of it. If you understand that, you’ll feel sympathy rather than outrage or anger. Your sense of good and evil may be the same as theirs, or near it, in which case you have to excuse them. Or your sense of good and evil may differ from theirs. In which case they’re misguided and deserve your compassion. Is that so hard?

Strength dissipates when you choose to be offended, and harbor malice. Marcus Aurelius counsels acting compassionately towards those who offend you:

That kindness is invincible, provided it’s sincere—not ironic or an act. What can even the most vicious person do if you keep treating him with kindness and gently set him straight—if you get the chance—correcting him cheerfully at the exact moment that he’s trying to do you harm. “No, no, my friend. That isn’t what we’re here for. It isn’t me who’s harmed by that. It’s you.” And show him, gently and without pointing fingers, that it’s so. That bees don’t behave like this— or any other animals with a sense of community. Don’t do it sardonically or meanly, but affectionately—with no hatred in your heart. And not ex cathedra or to impress third parties, but speaking directly. Even if there are other people around.

Another Stoic Philosopher, Epictetus, who advocated integrity, self-management, and personal freedom, wrote in Discourses (transcribed and published by his pupil Arrian):

For there are two rules we should always have at hand: That nothing is good or evil, but choice, and, That we are not to lead events, but to follow them. “My brother ought not to have treated me so”. Very true, but it is for him to see to that. However he treats me, I am to act rightly with regard to him. For this is my concern, the other is somebody else’s; this no one can hinder, the other is open to hindrance.

Idea for Impact: To Be Offended Is a Choice You Make

Don't Take Things Personally: To Be Offended Is a Choice You Make When somebody insults, mistreats, snubs, or disrespects you, choose not to be upset. To be offended is an issue of the self—it’s a choice you intentionally make. Taking offense is about what you want them to be. It is about your desire to change their perspective and behavior.

Try to isolate offense by choosing to respond differently: by overlooking others’ wrongdoings with compassion and reminding yourself that you cannot change others, just your own self.

The Hebrew Bible (or the Old Testament) instructs, “A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense” (Proverbs 19:11.) To be offended is a choice you make; it is not a condition inflicted or imposed upon you by someone or something else.

Choose not to let others dictate your emotions—purposely or otherwise. Live life with the wisdom that nobody can make you do anything and that you alone can control how you react to your surroundings and circumstances. Choose to be more at peace.

Inspirational Quotations #644

Loosen the bonds of avarice from your hands and neck.
Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi

Men are disposed to live honestly, if the means of doing so are open to them.
Thomas Jefferson

Man sees the mote in his neighbor’s eye, but knows not of the beam in his own.
The Talmud

Cherish your human connections: your relationships with friends and family.
Barbara Bush

A young physician fattens the churchyard.
Common Proverb

A good plan violently executed right now is far better than a perfect plan executed next week.
George S. Patton

A stumbling block to the pessimist is a stepping-stone to the optimist.
Eleanor Roosevelt

Work spares us from three evils: boredom, vice, and need.
Voltaire

There is not much less vexation in the government of a private family than in the managing of an entire state.
Michel de Montaigne

Anger should never be an overnight guest.
Neal A. Maxwell

Children have more need of models than of critics.
Joseph Joubert

Silence is the perfectest herald of joy. I were but little happy if I could say how much.
William Shakespeare

The bird a nest, the spider a web, man friendship.
William Blake

When befriended, remember it; when you befriend, forget it.
Benjamin Franklin

To be able to practice five things everywhere under heaven constitutes perfect virtue… gravity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness, and kindness.
Confucius

You can’t shake hands with a clenched fist.
Indira Gandhi