Gandhi’s core belief was truth. Although he was dedicated to serving — and he undoubtedly served millions of people — what drove every part of his being was his unrelenting quest towards the ultimate truth. The title of his autobiography proves the point: .

So how did he bring his brand of truth to life? There’s a touching story from early in Gandhi’s childhood where the seeds of his brand beliefs were planted.

In a rush of youthful mischief, Gandhi had stolen a bit of gold from his brother’s armlet. Overwhelmed by guilt, he decided to hand a written confession to his sickly father. Gandhi remembered:

“I was trembling as I handed the confession to my father…He read it through, and pearl-drops trickled down his cheeks, wetting the paper. For a moment he closed his eyes in thought and then tore up the note. He had sat up to read it. He again lay down. I also cried. I could see my father’s agony. If I were a painter I could draw a picture of the whole scene today. It is still so vivid in my mind.”

”A clean confession, combined with a promise never to commit the sin again, when offered before one who has the right to receive it, is the purest type of repentance. I know that my confession made my father feel absolutely safe about me, and increased his affection for me beyond measure.

A touching story indeed. But it’s the last sentence that proves the power of a brand. Gandhi was dedicated to truth. But he couldn’t only say it, he had to prove it, too. He had to act it.

He became obsessed with the truth. And once he showed the lengths he was willing to go to adhere to the truth, he began building a reputation for it. This made people feel “absolutely safe” in his presence — because they could trust he would live by his word.