Martin Luther King Jr. is immortal in American history. Whether you agree with his methods and concepts, his efforts and impact on the civil rights movement changed the world as we knew it and continues to influence us to this day.
It takes a special man to lead in times of hardship and Dr. King was a special man. His approach to political activism in a time where African Americans had very little hope is the essence of what it means to be a humanitarian. To stare racism, injustice and death in the face and hold your ground is something only the most brave of leaders can endure. His life is a journey that contemporary leaders everywhere continue to study to this day.
There are three lessons we can take from his leadership:
“I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.”
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a man of strong faith. He understood that he had a calling to change this country and the world through non-violent activism and put in the work to make sure that people FELT his message.
Intention is an important part of achieving monumental goals. MLK’s clear intent to change the world through love was clear in the way he continued to preserve in even in the face of mortal danger. That unwavering attitude is something the world can learn from.
“The time is always right to do what is right.”
“Don’t get in trouble. This is the way it is.” was a common saying during Dr. King’s time. African Americans everywhere accepted segregation and saw their unfair treatment as life in the status quo. Dr. King saw and lived injustice like others, but never accepted it.
Dr. King decided that change needed to happen and got to work. He preached to every man & woman he could and went to the greatest lengths one could ever accept to accomplish his goal. Whether it was staging a boycott or helping to lead the largest peaceful march, the world had ever seen to that point, Martin Luther King Jr. displayed extreme resilience throughout his life.
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”
The most important lesson Dr. King left was his emphasis on doing for others. In times of adversity, the common reactive thought is to focus on self. In the 1960s, there was a pervasive “every man for himself” thought process within the African American community.
Dr. King’s efforts and his ultimate sacrifice was an act of martyrdom that changed the hearts of millions. His willingness to give is a trait that every leader should strive to embody.
Martin Luther King’s legacy continues to impact our lives. He was a true champion of human progress and gave his life for what he believed in. He showed us that leadership is not a title, what you say or even what you think, but how you live your life and commit to your beliefs every day. If we all take even an ounce of his courage and willingness as a leader, the world will be 100% better for it.
In what ways can you be more like Dr. Martin in your everyday life?