In his terrific new book, Reinvent Yourself, prolific author, entrepreneur, blogger, podcaster, and serial reinventor-of-self, James Altucher shares a ton of wisdom. Included are lessons from business titans to historical figures; world-class athletes to top entertainers, and many more.
And, in his usual humble, self-effacing way, he shares golden nuggets of wisdom from…himself as he takes their lessons and serves them up to us through the filter of his brilliant mind.
While this is not a review of his book (though I recommend it highly), there’s a quote I’d like to share and then provide my own thoughts afterwards.
On page 168 James points out that Gandhi never actually said the oft-quoted, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” However, he did say something perhaps even more profound:
“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 is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.”
Rather than go through each individual line and thought in the Mahatma’s magnificent statement, let’s look at what I underlined, beginning with, “If we could change ourselves.” This informs us that we have a lot more potential to influence the world around us than we might believe. As we deal with others on an individual level, to the degree which we are in control of our own emotions, that’s the degree to which can positive effect – and yes, change – their attitudes.
In Adversaries into Allies I suggested the following:
“Expecting someone to be helpful doesn’t change them, it changes you. And that is what changes them.”
In other words, regardless of their natural or current state, if you go into the transaction believing they will be kind, helpful, and gracious…YOU will take on the corresponding attitude of thankfulness and gratitude. And, the chances are excellent they will respond to that.
Always? Of course not. This isn’t magic. There are all sorts of people. But…usually?
Yes, it begins with you. You and your emotions are the only element of the equation that you can control. Change yourself, and watch how the world changes for you.
So, you can indeed become the change you wish to see in the world.
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Excellent post, Bob! Thank you for sharing the profound quote from Gandhi. I also find your quote very insightful. After reading your post I found myself pondering what is it that changes in us by “expecting someone to be helpful” that then changes the other person. What came to me was that by thinking a positive thought about the person, we are giving out positive energy which changes us, especially if we were in more of a negative energy state before. We receive what we give out, so our positive thoughts go out and we receive a positive response in return. I would enjoy hearing your and others thoughts.
Kathy: Right on. Terrific point! And that energy – positive or negative – is powerful, indeed. What’s great is that we can control that (our) energy and help to positively influence another’s, leading to results that work out well for everyone involved. Thank you for sharing with us!
How wise!!!! The world can only change if we do – WE ARE THE WORLD. And as you say Bob “it begins with you” Thank’s for this AWESOME article Bob 🙂
Lene: Thank you for your comment, and always-kind feedback, my friend! Appreciate ya’!!
Awesome post Bob. I heard Gandhi statement earlier but I never experienced like what you did now. It gives me more understanding on power of change. Thanks a lot Bob for sharing incredible wisdom with us.
Srinivas: Thank you so much for your very kind feedback and thoughtful comments. So glad to know you enjoyed the post!
Thanks for sharing, Bob! I don’t think I had ever seen that quote from Gandhi before. The line that really resonated with me was the last one…”We need not wait to see what others do.” I think this really ties into the Law of Authenticity…don’t worry about what others do or say…assume the best and be yourself, and don’t be afraid to be the first person in the interaction to be vulnerable or be nice.
Kathleen: Thank you. I love how you put that! Well-said!
This is much more profound. Thank you.
Karol: Thank you for your feedback. Indeed, he was a very wise soul!
Your Book Help Change My Life…. it’s 2017 and I finally figured it out all through this book even after everything you read below that I’ve been through it’s not until this day 1/20/17 after finishing your book that I found my purpose. To Give! I’m thankful a brother that I met at Starbucks (a millionaire) let me read this. We meet today 1/20/17 at 1pm to sit and talk and return the book back to him. Keep me lifted with positive energy! Much Love, Mr. McSweeney
Joseph/PyRexx: Thank you for your kind words. I’m deeply honored to know you enjoyed John David Mann’s and my book. I read your bio. Wow – Congratulations on all the work you’ve done on yourself and I wish you much continued success!
Proud of u bro continue being a blessing!!