Life is 10% of what happens to you and 90% of how you respond. The true freedom you enjoy is your ability to choose your response wisely.
Here’s a lovely story about one of my all-time favourite heroes of the 20th Century — Mahatma Gandhi.
When studying law at the University College of London, a racist professor, whose last name was Peters, disliked Gandhi intensely and always displayed animosity toward him. Recall that the British were then colonial masters to Indians like Gandhi.
One day, Mr. Peters was having lunch at the dining room of the University, and Gandhi came along with his tray and sat next to the professor. The professor said,”Mr Gandhi, you do not understand. A pig and a bird do not sit together to eat.”
So Gandhi looked at him as a parent would a rude child and calmly replied, “Do not worry professor. I’ll fly away,” and he went and sat at another table.
Another time a frustrated Mr. Peters asked the following question: “Mr Gandhi, if you were walking down the street and found a package, and within was a bag of wisdom and another bag with a lot of money, which one would you take?”
Without hesitating, Gandhi responded, “The one with the money, of course.” Mr. Peters, smiling sarcastically said, “I, in your place, would have taken the wisdom.” Gandhi shrugged indifferently and responded, “Each one takes what he doesn’t have.”
Mr. Peters, by this time was in a rage!
So great was his anger that he wrote on Gandhi’s exam sheet the word “Idiot” and gave it to Gandhi. A few minutes later, Gandhi got up, went to the professor and said to him in a dignified but sarcastically polite tone, “Mr. Peters, you have autographed the sheet, but you did not give me my grade.”
You have no ability to decide 10% of what happens to you, but you always decide 90% of how you respond.
Be wise. Happy Independence Celebrations!
Written by Ebuka Anichebe, a published author of the bestseller Make Your Life a Blockbuster. He’s also an inspirational teacher, serial entrepreneur and a masterful storyteller. Follow him on Twitter @jondepol or connect with him via BlackBerry PIN:2AE27804 to get a daily burst of his fresh ideas.