23How to Lead Authentically
A troubled mother one day came to Mahatma Gandhi with her daughter and explained to him that her daughter was in the habit of eating far more sweet food than was good for her.
She asked, would the Mahatma speak to the girl and persuade her to give up this harmful habit? Gandhi sat for a while in silence and then said: “Bring your daughter back in three weeks’ time, and then I will speak to her.”
The mother and her daughter returned after three weeks. Gandhi quietly took the daughter aside and in a few simple words urged her to abandon the habit. Thanking Gandhi for giving her daughter such good advice, the mother then said to him in a puzzled voice, “Still, I would like to know, Mahatma, why you didn’t just say these words to my daughter three weeks ago when I first brought her to you.”
Explained the Mahatma in reply, “three weeks ago, I myself was still addicted to eating sweet foods.”
This story depicts a great quality of a true leader. You cannot preach effectively what you do not practice yourself. You need to inspire people with your actions, with your words. In words of Mahatma Gandhi, “You must be the change you want to see in the world. As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world – that is the myth of the atomic age – as in being able to remake ourselves.”
If you change yourself you will change your world. If you change how you think then you will change how you feel and what actions you take. And so the world around you will change. Not only because you are now viewing your environment through new lenses of thoughts and emotions but also because the change within can allow you to take action in ways you wouldn’t have – or maybe even have thought about – while stuck in your old NEGATIVE thought patterns.