Do you take our National Holidays for granted? Do you actually stop to reflect on their meaning? For the first time in a long time I am taking the time to reflect on the meaning of today. Martin Luther King Jr. is one of the United States most revered and special citizens. I will not be able to do justice to his legacy and meaning in this blog post. What I would like to drive at is listing some of the things I see in his work from more contemporary perspective.
Here are some of the things I notice he did that we can apply to our everyday lives.
– Stand on the shoulders of giants.
Dr.King read extensively on the work of Gandhi. He used the policy of non-violent protest as a weapon of compassion. Without working of Gandhi’s foundation of peaceful protest their would never have been success.
We all need to stand on the shoulders of giants in all the work we do. Find a mentor and follow in their footsteps. Try and find ways to take the lessons of past struggles and make them your own. Don’t do all the heavy lifting yourself – it’s not just bad for your back, it’s bad for your brain. Look to the past for inspiration and solutions for your current challenges.
– Appeal to the greater good.
By referencing to the United States most hallowed documents – the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, Dr. King was inclusive rather than exclusive. He found the common thread that all Americans fundamentally believe in – truth, justice and equality. He reminded us of where we come from and imprinted our own dreams , sense of right and wrong with his own agenda.
We can do this today in our dealings with people. Find those fundamental principles that we all work from – wanting to do good work, wanting to make transformational products that help people. Pull people in rather than close people out.
– Work from a philosophy rather than a strategy.
“All men (and woman) are created equal” Dr. King worked from that over-arching philosophy and it permeated all that he did. It allowed him to be inclusive to the needs of the all people rather than just the needs of black people. It allowed him to have empathy for those who would wish to do him harm. By working from a philosophy rather than a strategy he was able to be flexible and change his strategy while always working towards his philosophical goal of equality for all.
For us, we all need to find out fundamental philosophy and work from it. What do you believe it, what do you stand for should be questions you ask yourself. Once you have that core belief work from it in everything you do. Apply your ideals to work, to friendships to your own personal growth and you’ll have a much easier time making hard decisions.
(I am struggling with this piece of advice and I don’t think it’s easy to define a core philosophy but I’m trying real hard!)
These are by no means the only things we can learn from Dr. King. We can learn from many many great men and woman. We all have to study – find our examples and strive to push ourselves forward both as individuals and as a society. Take time on our National Holidays to think about what they each mean and how they can apply and I think we’ll all be a little bit better for it.
I’d love to know who you learn from? Who do you admire more than anyone? (Aside from your parents) I’d love to know.