Developing Gandhi’s Mental Habits: Strategies for Personal Growth | Mahatma Gandhi

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Mahatma Gandhi, the iconic leader of the Indian independence movement, is widely revered for his nonviolent approach to achieving social change. However, his influence extends beyond his political achievements. I remember when I was 10 years old, I stumbled upon Mahatma Gandhi’s autobiography – “My Experiments with Truth ” in my Father’s study. Driven by curiosity, I  started reading the book and I was greatly struck by so many of Mahatma Gandhi’s Mental strength. There are so many lessons one can learn from Gandhi’s Mental Habits for enriching one’s personal growth.

Lessons to learn from Gandhi's Mental Habits for personal growth

Gandhi possessed a remarkable set of mental qualities that set him apart as a leader and exemplar. Today as we celebrate Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday (2nd October),we shall explore the positive mental traits of  Mahatma Gandhi and  how adopting them can help us realise our goals.

1. Self-discipline:
The greatest mental attribute of  Mahatma Gandhi was his self-discipline, which was rooted in his strong personal values. He believed that one must be in control of their own desires and impulses in order to lead a meaningful life. Mahatma Gandhi’s life is characterized by his remarkable self-discipline. One example is his practice of fasting as a means of nonviolent protest. Gandhi would fast for weeks at a time, refusing to eat until his demands were met or until his message was heard. His fasting was a way of demonstrating his strength of will and his commitment to his ideals, as well as a means of bringing attention to his cause.

By developing self-discipline, we can strengthen our focus, improve productivity, and achieve our goals.

2. Patience and perseverance:

Patience and Perseverance were the key mental qualities of Gandhi. One iconic example of his patience and perseverance is seen in his role in the Indian independence movement. It took more than three decades and tireless work for Gandhi to attain the goal of freeing India from British rule.Despite facing numerous challenges and setbacks along the way he never got discouraged.His ability to persist in his nonviolent methods, despite the challenges and setbacks he encountered, serves as an inspiration for individuals striving for meaningful change

Moreover Gandhi’s principle of nonviolent resistance required immense patience and perseverance. He faced violent opposition, imprisonment, and even public ridicule, but he remained steadfast in his commitment to nonviolence. His famous Salt March in 1930 is a testament to his patience and perseverance. Leading a group of followers on a 241-mile journey to the Arabian Sea, Gandhi aimed to protest against the British salt tax. Despite the grueling conditions, he and his followers persevered and reached their destination, sparking a nationwide movement against British colonial rule.

Furthermore, during negotiations for India’s independence, Gandhi displayed remarkable patience and perseverance. He engaged in long and often tedious dialogue with British officials, never wavering in his determination to secure India’s freedom. This unwavering dedication eventually led to India’s independence in 1947.

In conclusion, Mahatma Gandhi’s life is a testament to the power of patience and perseverance. Whether it was in his pursuit of Indian independence or his commitment to nonviolent resistance, Gandhi exemplified the qualities of resilience and unwavering dedication. His ability to remain patient and persevere in the face of challenges is a valuable lesson that we can all learn from and apply in our own lives.

Developing Gandhi’s Mental Habits for personal growth

3. Inner peace:

Central to Gandhi’s philosophy of life was the concept of inner peace. He believed that by cultivating inner peace, one could radiate peace to the world.

Mahatma Gandhi demonstrated inner peace through various techniques and principles that he espoused. One of the key aspects of his pursuit of inner peace was his emphasis on nonviolence and the practice of ahimsa, which means non-harming or non-violence towards all living beings . Gandhi believed that violence arises from inner conflicts and that inner peace is essential for creating peace in the world.

Gandhi also emphasized the importance of self-discipline and self-control in maintaining inner peace. He practiced simplicity in his way of living, such as wearing simple clothing and leading a frugal life. By renouncing materialistic desires, he focused on the pursuit of spiritual and moral values .

Furthermore, Gandhi believed in the power of prayer and meditation to cultivate inner peace. He considered prayer as a means to connect with a higher power and to find solace and guidance during challenging times. Gandhi once said, “Prayer is the key of the morning and the bolt of the evening”.

In addition, Gandhi advocated for introspection and self-reflection as important practices for achieving inner peace. He encouraged individuals to examine their own thoughts, beliefs, and actions to ensure they were aligned with moral principles and to make necessary changes to cultivate inner harmony.He would often go for fasts and introspection in solitude , shunning social contact for a short time, specially when facing failures or before taking up difficult challenges.

By practicing techniques such as meditation or mindfulness, we too can learn to calm our minds, reduce stress, and embrace tranquility amidst the chaos of life.

4. Empathy and compassion:
Gandhi’s unwavering commitment to the well-being of others stemmed from his deep empathy and compassion. He believed in the inherent worth of every human being and promoted love and understanding as the path to social harmony. Cultivating empathy and compassion enables us to connect with others on a deeper level, fostering a more peaceful and inclusive world.His thoughts reflect in his favourite Bhajan – “Vaishanv Jan to tene kahiye je peer parayi jane re ( The real believer is that who understands the pain of others…)


5. Humility:
Despite his towering stature and influence, Gandhi remained humble throughout his life. He dressed in loin cloths and ate simple meals. Having had a big role to play in India’s Freedom movement , he never took any post in his life.He emphasized that true greatness lies in serving others rather than seeking personal glory. Embracing humility allows us to learn from others, acknowledge our limitations, and develop a sense of gratitude for the world around us.

6. Self Reliance :

Gandhi truly believed and quite rightly so that the path to independence come s from self reliance.He adopted this in his daily life too, by cleaning toilet  and washing how own clothes and even spinning his own khadi cloth.

On his second visit to India from SOuth Africa , Gandhiji attended the Congress meeting in Calcutta. He was mortified with unhygienic condition of the camp site where the meeting was taking place.Some delegates defecated next to their rooms, but no one objected.

Gandhi objected right away and asked them to clean the filth. To which the volunteers responded by saying , “This is not our job,this is the sweeper’s job.

Gandhi did not argue but asked for a broom and a bucket and cleaned the place himself, leaving others shocked and awed.

The takeaway from this anecdote is that we can become more self reliant and confident when we gain new skills and do not rely on others for getting the work done.


Mahatma Gandhi stands as an enduring symbol of peace, justice, and righteousness. By imbibing his mental qualities, we can strive to become better individuals and contribute positively to our society. Self-discipline, patience, inner peace, empathy, compassion, and humility are all essential qualities that can guide us on our path towards personal and societal transformation. Let us embrace these qualities and empower ourselves to make a difference, just as Gandhi did. As he once famously said, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

Let us inculcate these great mental habits of Gandhi that made him our beloved Bapu and the Mahatma to engage in our personal growth.


What are your thoughts about the mental habits of Gandhi that made him unique ?

Let me know in the comments below.



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