Let Your Life Be Your Message

gandhi's statue and message will be with us forever.

What’s YOUR life message?

Does your life have an inspiring message for others?

One of Mahatma Gandhi’s key messages was:-

Let your Life be your Message”.

Though Gandhi never had a formal position in the Indian government, he was known as the father of the nation.

When he died, he left behind very few personal belongings but what he did leave behind is his legacy of peace and non-violence.

A while ago, on the anniversary of Gandhi’s birth, I wrote my most popular blog post ever – 6 Key Lessons in Life from a 140 year Old Man.

So how can you also live your life so that your life can be an inspiring example for others?

The key is to remember that it is really about everything you do, say and have.

1. What Legacy are You Creating?

Gandhi left behind a huge legacy for the world. So what are you creating that will live long after you?

Maybe you are a writer, an artist or a politician. Or maybe you are just leading a “normal” life and you want to create your legacy through the way you live your life.

2. What Noble Cause do You Believe In?

Not everyone can have a noble life mission like Gandhi. However we can all still endeavour to live our life with high principles and decide to make the focus of our life something noble and worthy.

3. What are Your Values?

Tied in with your legacy and your noble cause are the values you hold dear.

What do you believe is the correct way of living and what values will you never compromise on?

4. What is the Work You Do?

Usually we end up doing work dictated by our life situation and economic needs.

However if you could change your work and spend the rest of your life doing work you truly enjoy and which will make a difference to the world, what would you do?

5. How do You Relate to Other People?

At the end of the day, people are the only thing that matter.

So how do you relate to all the people in your life and all around you? Do they feel uplifted by coming in contact with you?

6. Who is Your Peer Group?

The mark of a person is the company he or she regularly keeps.

So do you have an inspiring peer group of people around you with equally lofty ideals and goals?

7. What are Your Goals for Your Life?

Ultimately you will only get true fulfilment by thinking about beyond your own needs.

Do you have any short term and long term goals to contribute to the world and make a difference?

8. Are You a Role Model for Children?

The greatest thing you can do for the world is to bring up your children to become loving, caring and responsible citizens. Maybe your message to the world is how to bring up your children and provide a loving upbringing and happy home.

Just what sort of role model are you for children?

9. What Does Your Home Say About You?

Living a simple, Gandhi like life requires one to have as few things as possible and not to waste our resources, especially in our homes.

Is your home a beautiful place of relaxation and comfort or a cluttered nightmare?

10. Is Your Relationship a Beacon of Love and Affection?

The way you conduct yourself in your significant relationship says a lot about you.

With the current rate of marital failures, more than ever before today, the world needs people who can show others how to create a loving and sustainable relationship.

Why not focus on creating the best relationship you can and become an example for other couples?

11. What do You do in Your Spare Time?

Gandhi’s life was one of contribution and service. Though not all of us can lead such a life, one can still make a difference in our spare time such as through voluntary work or by passionately supporting a cause you believe in.

Just how are you making a difference to others in your “spare” time?

12. What do You Eat?

One of Gandhi’s lessons was frugal and healthy eating. He was an ardent vegetarian and even walked the talk when it came to not eating too much sugar.

So do you eat moderately and eat to live rather than live to eat?

Make Gandhi Proud

To summarise, live your life the best way you can with the highest principles in mind.

Live in such a way that one day you can look back and say that you did the best you could and through the example of your life, you showed others how to live.

And then, you never know, one day in the years to come after your passing, people may also mark and celebrate the anniversary of your birth and death:-)

Let everything you do, say and have, be a message about how life should be lived.

If you always keep that in mind, I am sure Gandhi will be very proud of you, and will be smiling down on you.

gandhi smiling down on you

Top photo courtesy of  tim tolle

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  1. “Usually we end up doing work dictated by our life situation and economic needs.” That’s absolutely true, Arvind. But we can’t do anything great unless we’re able to move beyond our circumstances and find ways to be remarkable, even if we have to keep a “real job” while doing it.

  2. Jeffrey – you summed it up perfectly.

    Even if we have do a “real job”, if we are determined to make a difference and do somehting great, then we WILL find ways to be remarkable.

    As I keep saying, everyone can do something great with their lives – one just has to get started.

  3. Oh, Arvind, so good of you to write this. Gandhi really set the bar high for all of us and for this, his life has inspired many regardless of culture, race or class. As one of my heroes, he helped me shape my personal commandments that aid in decreasing cognitive dissonance and in making decisions about what to prioritize and how to live my life. Learning about his teachings is truly inspirational. Following them, a lifelong tension between struggle and hope. And frankly, I don’t mind it at all. Thank you.

    • Belinda, Gandhi certainly set the bar high enough for all of us, but as he constantly reminded everyone he was just human too.

      And it is only human to go from struggle to hope and back again.

      Belinda, it would be interesting and useful to know more about your personal commandments…

      • Ah, yes. Glad you asked. As you know, he taught us a lot but three of his principles that I really try/struggle to practice in my own life are:

        Be the change you want to see in the world — I used to be in the habit of wondering why people do the things they do and questioning their motives. But all that did was vex my spirit. So for a while now, I’ve turned that kind of outward judgmental thinking into inward reflection. I now ask first if I’m doing what I can to affect whatever positive change I can. And usually, that’s enough to remind me to focus on my actions rather than on others.

        Prioritize love — for me love is where forgiveness, compassion, peace etc. stem from. And it sounds corny, I know, but having love as a guiding principle has helped me be a better person. Don’t get me wrong, I have a loooong way to go, but I’m happy with myself.

        Politics is very much intertwined with everything — I used to think I wasn’t a political person at all. But the thing is, I’ve always been opinionated even before I could vote. So it became liberating to accept my political nature instead of denying it, and even more rewarding to face where I stand on issues. Understanding how to locate politics in my life has helped me put certain principles into practical application.

        I also truly admire his satyagraha principle. Not that I ever aspire to incite civil disobedience, but he revolutionized activism in a way that was effective and didn’t debase humanity. He’s an incredible man, and it’s hard to believe he ever walked the same earth we’re on but the fact that he did is a reminder that humanity has the capacity for extraordinary achievements.

        • Belinda, thanks for sharing your personal commandments. Having got to know you through your blog, you certainly are living up to Gandhi’s guiding principles.

          Seems like what you have written could be a great blog post that you can share with your readers and the world.

          And as you say thought it may be hard to believe that such a one as Gandhi ever lived, it really shows what we are all capable of.

  4. Thanks for a beautiful post, Arvind. Yes, indeed – our life is our message. It seems to me that the key thing is integrity. By that I mean that we are all of a piece – that our thought and actions are in accord with our aspirations..

    • Thanks Mary for your feedback.

      It is hard not to write a beautiful post when the inspiration is so noble:-)

      You have made a great point about integrity and I love your definition of what it is – having our thoughts and actions in line with our aspirations.

  5. Zen Choices Blog says

    Gandhi is for me the most powerful reminder of how the immaterial will ultimately bring you more happiness and love than the material. He is also a marvelous symbol of one man making a difference through conscious living and difficult choices. Let your life be your message and be the change you want to see are simple principles, but profound and oh so challenging. Love the post.

    • David, Gandhi has been my hero mainly because of the example he set of how a single man can make such a difference but also because he showed the world how to live simply.

      At the same time, his lessons and principles are such a challenge, though seemingly simple. But what the world needs today is for more people to embrace these principles and strive to live by them no matter what.

  6. Zenguy and I agree there will never be another one like Gandhi ji and his teachings are much needed now -of non-violence and simplicity more than ever. Good article and reminder to follow his legacy.

  7. Thanks Arvind,

    I really enjoyed this article. One of your lines really resonated with me “Make Gandhi Proud” I do ofter think, what would Gandhi do. so this serves as a good Mantra. I’m new to your site…but love it already. thanks!

    • Cathy, welcome to my blog.

      Thanks for sharing your mantra about what would Gandhi do in any situation. If we all live our lives as our message and if keep Gandhi in mind at all times, then the earth would soon be full of Gandhis!

      Just imagine what a world that would be. And you know what, it is possible.

      Let us just start with me and you…

  8. Christopher Kabamba says

    An inspiration and love filled post. I have been reading “The Autobiography of Martin Luther King” in the last 30 days and he talks so much about Gandhi.

    What a legacy!

    The lesson for me is that THIS THING CALLED LEGACY IS ALSO FOR ME… In the sphere life I have chosen.
    Thank you very much.

    • Christopher, thanks for your insights and kind words. You make a valid point that our legacy is not just for others but also for US.

      When we see our legacy in that manner, it becomes a no-brainer that we should create our legacy!

      As well as Gandhi, Dr Martin Luther King has always been one of my heroes and mentors. I have actually written a number of posts about Dr King – and you can find them all by typing “Luther” in the search box on the right.

  9. This is a wonderful. We all need to be the change we want to see in the world. People attract to the truth and greatness. Thus, the legacy of Mohandis Gandhi. He is an inspiration too all of us.

    P.S- Keep your peer groups positive and big thinkers, it will rub off on you.

    • Thanks Jonathan – we all certainly need to be the change we want to see in the world.

      There are those people who stand on the bylines – and then there are those people who get on with and make things happen.

      And yes having a positive and big thinking peer group is key. Rub shoulders with such people and you too can be like them – and more importantly, you begin to let your life be your message.

  10. It’s interesting that you mentioned legacy in there as that is my prime focus for the year. Leaving a legacy. Not that i’m leaving anything but, where I go I would like to leave a legacy! Last year it was leadership, this year it is legacy.

    • Amit, great to know that legacy is your prime focus this year.

      And I am glad you make the point that legacy is not something you one day leave behind but it is also what you create every day wherever you go.

  11. Truly inspiraton post here Arvind. Gahndi is one of the people that I look up to. and this post is a great example of how to move along and be the change we all want to see in the world. It all starts with one person an a time!


  12. Arvind,

    This article touched my heart – it is beautiful! There is so much magnificence I hardly know where to begin.

    The quote “They may break my bones and kill me, then they will have my body – but not my obedience” says it all. I could add not my soul. I believe a powerful desire for freedom is at the core of us.

    Ghandi set such a powerful example. Recently I visited the Martin Luther King Jr. center in Atlanta. How fortunate MLK was to have Ghandi’s example and to utilize his model for the civil rights movement. Nelson Mandela comes to mind as well when I think of examples of wisdom and love.

    I can’t help but weep in the presence of such greatness and this article took me there are well. It never fails to restore faith in life, in people, in love.

    Hope. Goodness. Love. Strength. Simplicity. And most of all courage. I do not believe I have this degree of courage, yet we also surprise ourselves, I think, by how much courage we do have at times.

    Lastly, I love the thought of being clear about who we are and what we stand for. To know that we have certain boundaries that we will not allow to be crossed.

    Thank you so much for this beautiful article.

    • Lauren, thanks for your kind words and I am so glad this article touched your heart.

      I also visited the Martin Luther King Jr center in Atlanta a few years ago and was amazed at how peaceful it was. But I did feel a sense of it being neglected and kind of forgotten.

      The surrounding area still looked under-developed and probably no different from the time of Dr King’s death. But at least the legacy of his work lives on.

      Finally, Lauren, I do believe that we all have the degree of courage you speak of. I am sure you will prove me right in the coming months and years:-)

  13. Hi Arvind,

    Thanks for your words. Yes, I feel I have a good dose of courage. There are a few, though, who have courage beyond courage, if you know what I mean.

    All is so very well in life. I am loving my moments! And it is good to have remarkable people lighting the path along the way, reminding us how much good exists, how wonderful and precious this life opportunity is!

    Thank you for your contribution, Arvind!

  14. Anne Brandt Dias says

    Thanks Arvind, that was good reading and we all need to re-read this and then contemplate on what we want in life and to go and achieve just that, be it small or big.

    With warm regards,


    • Welcome back Anne from India, the land of Gandhi:-)

      Yes, as you say it’s time for us to contemplate and achieve what we want in life, no matter small or big.

  15. This is such a beautiful post, Arvind.

    I love this:
    “Live in such a way that one day you can look back and say that you did the best you could and through the example of your life, you showed others how to live.”

    A wonderful reminder for all of us.
    Thank you!

    • Jodi, great that you liked this post:-)

      That’s my favourite line too:-

      “Live in such a way that one day you can look back and say that you did the best you could and through the example of your life, you showed others how to live.”

      Time for more of us to live by this line:-)

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