15 Influential Gurus Who Have Changed All Our Lives

In this top 10 self help gurus list you’ll find many inspirational figures. But who is your personal favorite self help guru? Leave a comment below.

The Top Gurus And What They’re All About

There have been so many spiritual and self help gurus through the years.

These gurus have taught us to live better lives. They have shown us how to heal the body, mind and spirit, and they have inspired us to be our best selves.

In this list we have looked for spiritual gurus who have consistently represented the best of the spiritual community.

Because spirituality can mean different things, I’ve included lots of different kids of gurus with all different beliefs.

Which one of these spiritual gurus is your favorite?

Leave a comment below the list.


1. Deepak Chopra (author of The Book Of Secrets): 

Time magazine called Deepak Chopra the “poet-prophet of alternative medicine.”

Chopra has released over 50 self help books and is most famous for his work on enhancing the mind / body connection.

He advocates such techniques as healing through meditation and body scanning.

twitter-icon “In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you.”

How to do it:

Meditate so you can be mindful even in the toughest of times.

It can be a real challenge to “keep stillness inside of you,” as Chopra advocates. It’s all those negative thoughts and doubts and worries that we mere mortals suffer. Those are what stop you from feeling inwardly still.

Read: Slow down and quieten your mind

 

2. Eckhart Tolle  (Author of The Power of Now)

Born in Germany and educated in Cambridge. Eckhart Tolle has accomplished some truly extraordinary things. He even managed to make Paris Hilton a tiny bit spiritual [1]. She has said that she read The Power Of Now while in jail.

Eckhart Tolle’s teachings are largely based around the book the Bhagavad Gita, which is one of the most important Hindu classic texts.

Tolle also uses a lot of Zen Buddhism in his teachings. For instance, his advice on focusing on the present moment is entirely based around Zen .

Best Eckhart Tolle Quote:

twitter-icon“The past has no power over the present moment.”

How to do it:

Live in the moment. When you live in the moment you naturally overcome a lot of the stress and doubts that occupy your mind. And you will also enjoy the moment more.

3. Jack Canfield (Author of Chicken Soup For The Soul )

Jack Canfield has done more for the self help movement than practically anyone in history.

His book Chicken Soup For The Soul sold by the truckload. And it was the entry point to self help for a lot of people, including this author.

Chicken Soup For The Soul turned spirit-science into an easy-to-read page-turner.

Jack Canfield’s tips include positive thinking and being grateful for what you’ve got in life. But then that’s easy for him, he’s worth $25 million.

What makes Jack Canfield a great self help writer is that he is very down to Earth compared to his contemporaries.

Best Jack Canfield Quote:

twitter-icon“Most everything that you want is just outside your comfort zone.”

How to do it:

Do one thing you think your cannot do. How? I’ve written a guide to overcoming fear in your life to get you started. When you do one thing you think you cannot do, you’ll start to turn can’t into can.

 

4. Dale Carnegie (A.K.A  author of How To Win Friends And influence People)

Dale Carnegie was an American lecturer, writer and self improvement guru. [6]

As a self help guru he’s most famous for the absolutely brilliant book on communication, “How To Win Friends And Influence People”.

Among Dale Carnegie’s most important teachings are the idea (and now proven fact) that you can change the behavior of other people by changing the way you act towards them. He’s also famous for the beautiful quote about gratitude below.

Best Dale Carnegie Quote:

twitter-icon“Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get.”

How To Do It:

Have the attitude of gratitude.  Be thankful for what you have in life. This creates a mindset of having rather than wanting.

 

 

5. Jon Kabat Zinn (Author of Wherever You Go There You Are)

Jon Kabat Zinn is not as famous as some of the other self help gurus on this list. But don’t let that phase you.

This guy’s done more for spirituality in the West than nearly anyone.

He’s famous for bringing the Zen practice of Mindfulness Meditation to the West.

Jon Kabat Zinn essentially took the teachings of Thich Naht Hahn and brought them to the West. His central teachings revolve around mindfulness and Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction. He advocates getting in touch with the senses and being alive to the world.

Best Jon Kabat Zinn Quote:

twitter-icon “Wherever you go, there you are”— Jon Kabat Zinn

How To Do It: Mindfulness is the key . “Wherever you go, there you are” essentially means to be present and in the moment. To accomplish that, practice mindfulness based meditations.

Try these 25 mindful habits.

 

 

6. Wayne Dyer  (Author of Change your Thoughts, Change Your Life)

Wayne Dyer is an international bestselling author of more than thirty books and one of the most famous faces in self improvement.

Wayne Dyer has been all over the TV with his PBS specials. And thank goodness for that because Wayne Dyer was a truly beautiful and inspiring man (and one of the guys who inspired me to get into spirituality myself many years ago).

Wayne Dyer advocates philosophies associated to the New Thought Movement [3] (which states that god is within us all and that our thoughts and mind hold unbridled power).

Best Wayne Dyer Quote:

twitter-icon If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

How To Do It: Don’t just accept your own thoughts and beliefs as gospel. Challenge the way you look at the world. Look at things in new ways. This will change your perception of reality. Why not start by changing your beliefs about yourself.

Dr. Wayne Dyer – Fragments From The Tao – Beautiful Speech

 

7. Stephen Covey (Author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People)

Stephen Covey is the author of “7 Habits”, a groundbreaking self improvement / personal development book. He also sells products designed to make you more efficient and more successful.

Stephen Covey’s empire sells such things as planners and schedules.

Covey studies as a Harvard MBA student and approaches self help with a business mentality. His advice is practical, straight-up no nonsense facts.

Best Stephen Covey Quote:

twitter-iconThere are three constants in life… change, choice and principles.

How to do it:

Develop a mindset of mental fortitude.

 8. Napoleon Hill (Author of Thank And Grow Rich)

Napoleon Hill learned his teachings from Andrew Carnegie, the American steel magnate.

Carnegie taught Napoleon Hill that success was a formula, a process anyone could follow.

This led to his first book “The Law of Success.”

This was followed by “Think and Grow Rich.” The book advocated 17 success principles, of which the first is “Definition of Purpose.”

Best Napoleon Hill Quote :

twitter-icon A goal is a dream with a deadline.—Napoleon Hill

How To Do It:

Stop wishing on the future. Write down your life goal. State it precisely. Now attached a date to it. Pin it on the wall. You now have an official statement of what you will achieve and when. Now go do it.

9. Tony Robbins (author of Awaken The Giant Within)

Tony Robbins first gained attention in infomercials where he promoted Jim Rohn’s seminars. He then started his own seminars.

Tony Robins’  seminars are known for their personality. They’re designed to stir excitement. They focus on immediate action. His two main teachings are : 1) keep energy and excitement high and 2) change negative thoughts for positive ones.

Best Tony Robbins Quote:

twitter-iconIf you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.

How to do it: 

Read my guide to the Success Mindset.

10. Richard Carlson (author of Dont Sweat The Small Stuff)

Richard Carlson hit the bestsellers list with “Dont Sweat the Small Stuff.”

Though Carlson was panned by critics at the time, in hindsight a lot of people have come to see his works as masterpieces.

Richard Carson advocates simple and practical advice, and tells us that we don’t need lofty ideas or clever plans, just a good slice of perspective.

Best Richard Carlson Quote:

twitter-icon“Don’t sweat the small stuff…and it’s all small stuff.”

How to do it:

Read my guide to letting go of things. It will help you to see what is unessential.

Your issues probably aren’t that earth shatteringly important. One day you’ll back and wonder what you ever worried for. So you might as well just stop worrying today.

 

 

11. Malala Yousafzai (author of I Am Malala)

Malala Yousafzai is an inspiration for millions of women and men around the world.

Dubbed The Bravest Girl in the World by CNN [4], Malala Yousafzai risked her life for her dream: to see women in Pakistan educated and given equality.

All Malala Yousafzai wanted to do was to go to school. Living in the Swat Valley of India (a region where the Taliban have taken over), education was strictly forbidden, as were visible women and music.

Malala Yousafzai refused to be the victim of the Taliban’s orders. The 15 year old girl risked her life for her dream: to see women educated. She was shot in the face from point blank range. Miraculously, Malala Yousafzai survived the Taliban’s attempted murder. Her survival is a miracle for which we should all be thankful. “I want to tell the Taliban to be peaceful,” says Yousafzai. “The real way is to fight through words, to fight with pens. That is my jihad. I am fighting for the rights of every girl.”

One of Malala Yousafzai’s inspiring quotes:

twitter-iconThey can shoot a body. They cannot shoot my dreams. — Malala Yousafzai

When Malala Yousafzai awoke from a week long coma she asked for her parents by writing on a piece of paper; she was unable to speak as she was left with a breathing tube in her throat.

“I thanked Allah, God, for my survival. My next thought was who was paying for me? My father ran a school but everything was rented. . . . “

Malala Yousafzai truly is a role model for enlightenment.

Everything about Malala Yousafzai speaks wonders of the power of her mind. The fact that she, a fifteen year old girl, risked her life for her principles (for principles that concern the wellbeing of others) is amazing. Clearly, here is a fifteen year old girl with the emotional maturity and spiritual development of the most enlightened adult.

Malala Yousafzai was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize (it was won by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons).

12. Paolo Coelho (Author of The Alchemist)

Bestselling author Paolo Coehlo is an inspiration and one of the best spiritual gurus in the world.

Paolo Coelho’s books have sold more than 150 million copies worldwide. The Alchemist is one of the most popular books of all time. Coelho is a master. And as good as he is in print, he is equally as breathtaking in person.

There’s a gravity about Paolo Coelho. When I saw him speak at a conference a couple of years back, I struck by his sincerity and depth of character. He’s the sort of person you will never, ever forget.

Paulo Coelho: A Warrior's Life (on Spirituality)

twitter-iconWhen you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.

 

 

13. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar  

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is the created of the Art of Living foundation [5], and one of the most inspiring religious and spiritual figures.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is the mastermind behind The Art Of Living Foundation, and the leader of NONVIO, a movement which asks individuals to pledge one act of non-violence through any of the various social media outlets.  Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has inspired and influenced millions of people the world over.

You can tell by the speech below that Sri Sei Ravi Shankar is a truly compassionate, enlightened human being. The saying “Touched by an angel” is applicable here.

Spirituality and Money: A talk given by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in Tel Aviv, Israel

twitter-icon“Love is not an emotion. It is your very existence.”  ― Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

 

 

14. Thich Nhat Hanh (author of Peace In Every Step)

Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh is one of the best authors of Zen books and an inspiring spiritual guru.

One of the eminent leaders of Zen Buddhism, Thich Nhat Hanh is the author of many bestselling books, including the classic Peace In Every Step.

I’ve personally learned so many things during meditation, and Thich Nhat Hanh covers most of them.

Many of the other speakers on this list try to keep uptempo and positive. Thich Nhat Hanh doesn’t mind delving into deeper matters and discussing dark but important truths.

For me, Thich Nhat Hanh left me with a feeling of the immense depth of the world. Reading Thich Nhat Hanh I feel as though I have journeyed through the depths of the ocean, and came out with a pearl.

Body and Mind Are One – Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh

twitter-iconThere is no way to happiness – happiness is the way.

 

 

15.  The Dalai Lama (author of The Art Of Happiness)

The Dalai Lama has inspired millions around the world. The Dalai Lama is a Buddhist leader and a spiritual guru.

The Dalai Lama is one of the most interesting and entertaining characters in the world. He is a big kid. And he is also an old sage. He’s playful but wise, the best of both worlds. And when you hear him speak you will never forget it.

The Dalai Lama will make you laugh even as he expands your mind. One of the most iconic individuals in the world, you simply have to hear the Dalai Lama speak in person.

Dalai Lamas Public Talk 6: His Holiness the Dalai Lama's Speech

twitter-iconOur prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.

 

 

These are the top self help gurus in the world… in my opinion. But now I’d love to hear your opinion.

And remember, there are tons of great non-famous spiritual bloggers too.

Who has inspired you? What was it about them that you really loved?

Leave a comment.

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