This well-known quote is often incorrectly credited to Mahatma Gandhi. What Gandhi said was,
“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 it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.”
Living by a mantra or a quote might seem a little like you’re trying to win a beauty pageant, but it makes you more aware of what’s important to you. The thing about most popular quotes is their wide appeal. It’s their overuse that makes them memorable. It’s also what makes their meaning fade. Over time, we banally repeat the words while the true meaning is lost.
My older Brother taught me how to shave as a teenager.
Like most things, his way has remained with me forever. Firstly, he made it clear the process is important. Because shaving your face is something you’re likely going to do daily, you might as well make it a fun and worthwhile experience. He saw it as an opportunity to get your attitude for the day right. It is probably while shaving that most men must stare into a mirror at their face. My Brother said you should first take a few seconds and look at yourself with love, smile and say,
This positive affirmation was only the start of his morning ‘pamper.’ As part of his process, he used a soft-bristled shaving brush with the shaving cream in a bowl. This was all to slow you down. He wanted to take time and enjoy the person looking back at him. Working the foam into a lather, he dotted his face with the foam. Then slowly, he would work it into his beard with small circular motions of the brush. He stroked his face with the razor, rinsing each time. He took time running his hand over his chin and neck to check he hadn’t missed a spot. Finally, he would rinse his face, pat it dry with a towel, still smiling at himself in the mirror.
Later in his life, my Brother loved being treated to a cut-throat and hot-towel shave at the barber. He saw something as simple as shaving as a reason to celebrate life.
An important lesson he taught me from shaving is that everything starts with that man in the mirror. If you can love that person looking back at you, you can make the world a better place. And it starts with you.
Mantras and quotes are great to live by, but you need to live them in action to be worthwhile. You don’t have to wait for anyone’s approval but your own. Don’t cheat the one in the mirror. Don’t wait for someone to tell you to start, do it.
The Man In The Glass by Dale Wimbrow
When you get what you want in your struggle for self,
And the world makes you king for a day,
Then go to the mirror and look at yourself,
And see what that man has to say.
For it isn’t a man’s father, mother or wife,
Whose judgement upon him must pass,
The fellow whose verdict counts most in life,
Is the man staring back from the glass.
He’s the fellow to please, never mind all the rest,
For he’s with you clear to the end,
And you’ve passed your most dangerous, difficult test,
If the man in the glass is your friend.
You can fool the whole world down the pathway of years,
And get pats on the back as you pass,
But the final reward will be heartache and tears,
If you’ve cheated the man in the glass.
Have an awesome weekend and please be generous! 😄
As always, thanks for reading 🙏
Originally published at https://www.leapfirst.co.za on June 11, 2021.