How Gandhi Won


“First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win.”

Knowing that the act would put him in prison, Mahatma Gandhi marched 241 miles to the Indian sea in 1930 with one intention:  to produce his own salt.  Nothing revolutionary, the man simply wanted to take a cup of the Indian Ocean and boil it.

With a pot and a little heat, Gandhi aimed to strike a non-violent blow to the infamous Salt Tax, a living representation of the evil of British colonialism.  You see, salt was a staple of everyone’s diet.  From the Muslims to the Hindus from the slums to countryside estates, everyone used salt.  More than a law, the Salt Tax represented the dominating English hand, stripping away the freedom of the Indian people.

First they ignored him.

Hearing Gandhi’s plans, British Viceroy Lord Irwin wrote to London that

At present the thought of a salt campaign does not keep me awake at night.

Then they ridiculed him.

Some of Gandhi’s allies in his party tried not to laugh at the ridiculousness of the scheme.  Revolutions can’t start by boiling salt water…

They they fought him.

Yet, by the time Gandhi reached the sea, 50,000 people had gathered in non-violent solidarity with him.  Each committed the simple act of taking a little salt water and bringing it to a boil.  Millions followed, and by the end of the month, the British had imprisoned over 60,000 people.

Then he won.

The story appeared in 1,350 newspapers, bringing the eyes of the world to the cause of the Indian people.  The salt march rallied the country around a simple goal, eventually leading to freedom.  By 1947, India governed itself.

350 million people became free.  

Years later, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela would use similar non-voilent tactics to lead their respective movements.

“First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win.”

Gandhi said this – and lived it.  He took the conventional and threw it out the window to stand up for what he believed in.  We are not Mahatma Gandhi – at least I’m not – but the principles that guided him can surely be applied to other superheroes.

To live an unconventional life is much like this story – and the stakes are just as high.

First people will ignore you.  They wont treat what you’re doing like it matters.

Then they’ll say you’re silly for doing what you do.  It’s not what everyone else is doing.  Stop it.  Jump on our bandwagon, get a real job, and start making money the normal way like normal people.

Some will even fight you and make your life hell.  They don’t want to see someone succeed and live a different life.  They’ve been tricked into living the one that has been prescribed to them – not the one they want – and to see you succeed goes against the lie that they’re living.

Then you win.

And it’s people who are willing to challenge the status quo that will change things.   It’s these superheroes that will make the world a better place and be driven by a genuine passion for what they do.  Whether it’s raising kids the best damn way they can, developing better housing for low income Americans, or helping support education in rural Latin America.  They will change things.

They will win.

Written with love,


PS: Ignorant ridiculed fighter with a winning streak?  Be a superhero.  Join our tribe on the left for an injection of awesome into your inbox.

I’m disconnected in Mexico this week with some of my best friends.  I’ll be a little slow getting back to you until next Monday when plug back into the technological umbilical chord  🙂


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