Swami Vivekananda is in the headlines for all the wrong reasons, because politicians today are maligning his name for their myopic purposes. However, one can, even today, take inspiration from his words:
1. Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life - think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success.
2. Be a hero. Always say, “I have no fear.” Tell this to everyone — “Have no fear.”
Fear is death, fear is sin, fear is hell, fear is unrighteousness, fear is wrong life. All the negative thoughts and ideas that are in the world have proceeded from this evil spirit of fear. Face the brute, which is a lesson for all life—face the terrible, face it boldly. The hardships of life fall back when we cease to flee before them.
3. We must have friendship for all; we must be merciful toward those that are in misery; when people are happy, we ought to be happy; and to the wicked we must be indifferent. These attitudes will make the mind peaceful.
4. Fill the brain with the high thoughts, the highest ideals, place them day and night before you, and out of that will come great work. Who will give the world light? Sacrifice in the past has been the Law, it will be, alas, for ages to come. The earth’s bravest and best will have to sacrifice themselves for the good of many, for the welfare of all.
5. Truth, purity, and unselfishness – whenever these are present, there is no power below or above the sun to crush the possessor thereof. Equipped with these, one individual is able to face the whole universe in opposition.
6. Everything can be sacrificed for truth, but truth cannot be sacrificed for anything.
7. Strength is the sign of vigour, the sign of life, the sign of hope, the sign of health, and the sign of everything that is good. As long as the body lives, there must be strength in the body, strength in the mind, strength in the hand.
8. Great work requires great and persistent effort for a long time. Character has to be established through a thousand stumbles. As different streams having different sources all mingle their waters in the sea, so different tendencies various though they appear, crooked or straight, all lead to God.
9. So long as millions live in hunger and ignorance, I hold every person a traitor who, having been educated at their expense, pays not the least heed to them.
10. We are what our thoughts have made us; so take care about what you think. Words are secondary. Thoughts live; they travel far.
11. Stand up, be bold, be strong. Take the whole responsibility on your own shoulders, and know that you are the creator of your own destiny. All the strength and succour you want is within yourselves. Therefore, make your own future.
12. Do not believe in a thing because you have read about it in a book. Do not believe in a thing because another man has said it was true. Do not believe in words because they are hallowed by tradition. Find out the truth for yourself. Reason it out. That is realization.