Gandhi Didn’t Actually Ever Say, “Be the Change You Want to See in the World.” Here’s the Real Quote…

Fact Check

Chris Soschner
3 min readApr 4, 2021


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The internet is a great thing — still, after almost 30 years since CERN made the World Wide Web publicly available.

Yet, sometimes it is challenging to stumble over information that crushes long kept believes in the truth of certain quotes like

Be the change you want to see in the world

Not Mahatma Gandhi

My whole life, I firmly believed Mahatma Gandhi said that, and then I stumbled across Quote Investigator — and they crushed it.

Why is this quote great?

I liked the quote as a reminder to refocus on what I can change instead of pondering what I cannot change. What exactly?

  1. Don’t judge others. They won’t change, so thinking about why and how they are the way they are doesn’t serve a purpose.
  2. Instead of complaining about things…
  3. …it helps me think quickly about what I can do right now this moment to change things

Down to earth, get things done, and you will change in the direction where you want to be.

In simple terms, the quote always reminds me that complaining about this or that person's behavior doesn’t change a thing.

Sometimes, it tells me that the person is not the right one for a particular job, and I need to look elsewhere.

Even as Mahatma Gandhi didn’t say that, it is still one of the best short proverbs that always help me get the proper perspective on situations and people.

What did Gandhi say?

Although the quote is attributed to the great Mahatma Gandhi, he phrased it differently:

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



Chris Soschner

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