Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, an occasion celebrated not just in the U.S., but by many people around the world. Dr. King had a vision for society where race was not an issue in how people were treated or in how they lived their lives. He had ideas to change the world.
King was a Baptist minister, activist and leader in the civil rights movement. He earned his Ph.D. in systematic theology at Boston University in 1955. King was known as a gifted speaker and for conducting nonviolent protests and acts of civil disobedience. He helped organize the 1963 March on Washington, where he delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 for combating racial inequality through nonviolent resistance. He was assassinated in 1968 at the age of 39, and he was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal.
Today, we honor King and seek to learn from the examples he set more than 50 years ago.
Change Begins from Within
There are many different lessons King taught about the way we communicate, empathize and have conviction. His principles can be applied to many different situations, including business and how we live our lives. Perhaps above all else, he had a vision for change.
A desire to change the world can seem very heroic, noble and grand. For most people, it’s an unsurmountable task and an impossible dream. So before you become overwhelmed or feel too anxious and give up, think about how you can start small.
Change the world by changing yourself first. Take small steps to make a bigger change. Stop complaining. Practice forgiveness. Appreciate what you have. Find beauty in the world. Perform acts of kindness. Help others in need.
Quotes from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
- “If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.”
- “The time is always right to do the right thing.”
- “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”
- “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”
- “We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.”
- “Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend.”
- “Only in the darkness can you see the stars.”
- “No one really knows why they are alive until they know what they’d die for.”
Focus on doing small things as best as we can, and before long, greater changes will happen. Defeats, setbacks and disappointments only last for so long. Keep hope, and with determination, you can overcome anything. Concentrate on your passion to find your life’s mission. And remember, change is constant and inevitable. So accept it with open arms, and embrace the opportunity to be different.