“A man is but the product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes.” – M.K.Gandhi. What does this quotation mean to you? (10 marks)

Mentor’s comment

  • The quote underscores the importance of thoughts in the shaping of personality.
  • Elaborate on the role played by our thinking in guiding our lives. What we chose to do is guided and circumscribed by the way we think and make a decision in life.
  • Thoughts can be constructive or destructive, positive or negative, good or bad- what we chose makes us what we are.
  • Give some examples which highlight the importance of thoughts and influence of thoughts on an individual/society.
  • State the relevance of this quote in today’s world.

Answer:

Mahatma Gandhi in his book “My Experiments with Truth” has shown how his thought process was influenced by his upbringing, experiences and his strong beliefs.

Similarly, through this statement Mahatma Gandhi means that the actions of a person are largely determined by her thought process.

How thought influences the attitude and behavior of a person

  • One’s thoughts are the first engagement points with society. 
  • Thoughts impact behavior as well as the attitude, while molding the actions. It, therefore, becomes very important for the thoughts to be fixated to a compass of morality and conscience.
  • Ethical behavior and regulation of actions emerge from the ethical thought process.
  • Thoughts or reflections on experiences open up possibilities for the choices of action to be taken. 
  • An understanding and awareness of one’s thoughts and feelings or emotional intelligence can help in regulating her actions accordingly. For example, while thoughts of kindness and compassion can create more empathetic individuals, thoughts of violence and anger can contribute to the making of criminals in society.
  • Individuals’ thinking has become more self-centered under the impact of increasing individualism and consumerism, this has further led to the individuals’ detachment from the community and society. 

It is in these times that people’s ability to think freely in a society should be nurtured. Societies need to emphasize more on education as the inculcation of critical ethical thinking can produce individuals who act ethically, thereby impacting society, nation and the world at large.

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