Apr 27, 2016
Many people came into the world to participate in a myriad of events and then died without meaningful impacts traceable to their mundane existence. Some others came to create events that would forever etch in the annals of history. The latter continue to arouse the interest of the world years after they have gone. They become beckon of hopes and inspirations to the world they left behind.
Such was the life of the great history maker, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Born on January 15, 1929, to Rev’d Micheal King and his wife Alberta, Luther was born into the ugly shadow of segregation. Though the kings loved their handsome boy, they were sad that he had to be born into a society that would treat him as second class citizen.
King had an experience at 6 that forever made an impact for the rest of his life. Martin had gone to visit his friend after school, but the father of his friend wouldn’t allow King to see him. Exasperated, Luther asked, “Why Not?” The man responded grimly, “Because you’re black and he’s white” and slammed the door. Luther went home to relate the incidence to his Mum, who told him, “See, son, no matter what the rest of the world says, you’re as good as anyone else”
Luther, from then, would live with a vision, a dominating desire to stop segregation in the Continent of America. A vision was born in his heart, he began to study and at 14, Martin Luther King had become an intellectual Monster! Upon graduation at the top of his class at the University of Boston, Luther decided to go back home with his new found love, Coretta Scott with one purpose in mind: to fight for the freedom of himself and his people. Luther King never expected to be a leader. All he wanted was for black people like him to be treated fairly in America. But what began as a small protest soon became a revolution.
I have taken my time to learn from the life history of Dr Martin Luther King Jr., here are the 7 Life Lessons gleaned from the life of this amazing legend
1. Intelligence has no colour.
Luther led his class at the Crozer Seminary, a mixed school for both black and white students. It was a great opportunity for King to prove that a black student could achieve as much as anybody else. Black doesn’t spell D.a.r.k and intelligence has no respect for colour.
Today, we have seen similar examples from the life of Dr. Ben Carson, a black American who at the young age of 35 became the director of Pediatric neuro surgery at the popular Johns Hopkins Hospital. The lesson here is evident, if you take the time to develop your intelligence, you can rise above any situation in life , no matter the condition of your birth or the colour of your skin.
2. Live with A dream.
Though Dr Martin Luther delivered his famous speech ” I have a Dream” on August 28, 1963, in the presence of 250,000 protesters, he had lived with that dream since he was 6. Luther lived with a dream that he would one day see, “The sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners sit together at the table of brotherhood…that his four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character.”
This was the vision that burnt in the heart of Luther day and night. This dream made him study harder than his colleagues and influenced his choice of vocation as a Clergyman. Today, America lives in the Light of his dream. His dream has become a reality. Dreamers have been the saviour of the world. If you have a dream in your heart and you allow it to become an obsession there is no telling what legacy your life can leave behind.
3. A Passionate Desire For A Change.
Luther wanted a change. He wanted it so badly. Many people had come before Luther who saw the problem and did nothing. However, King saw the problem, felt the pain and promised himself to do something about it even if it took the last breath in his nostril. In fact, Luther was willing to let go of his romantic relationship with Coretta if she wasn’t willing to follow him to Montgomery to fight for the dream of his heart. To Luther, “It’s either freedom or death.”
Change doesn’t occur on the platter of gold, it takes commitment, determination and a degree of stubbornness for things to change.
4. Small victory births bigger victories.
Nobody expected the small protest that began in the early hour of December 1st, 1955 when Rosa Parks had refused to vacate her seat for a white man in Montgomery to turn to a phenomenon that would spread across the country.
Inspired by the Court order that segregation on buses was illegal, Luther took the protest to
Birmingham, a city known to be the heart of unfair treatment of the black. He fought, he was arrested and jailed. At the end, he won! Later, Luther took the struggle to Alabama and fought for the right of the black to vote and be voted for and also won. On August 28th, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed an act removing restrictions on black voting rights.
Here is the lesson: Major success is an accumulation of little successes. If you start you will generate the energy needed to continue. Movement creates momentum. Things will move, when you move. Every great thing started small. A change can begin with you where you are today.
5. The Value of Great Companionship.
Dr. Luther surrounded himself with great friends. From his wife Coretta, who he said possessed “Character, intelligence, personality and beauty” to E.D Nixon one of his closest friends, King selected carefully friends who had the same values, passion and drive like himself. For instance, the idea to boycott the buses in Montgomery was suggested by his friend, Nixon and throughout his life Luther would value and sought the counsel of his wife and of his great friends .
Your friends create your influence. Your association determines your assimilation. Your destiny can be marred or made by the choice of friends you made. Nobody succeeds in isolation. If you want to do great things, then look for great friends.
6. Fight for your Freedom.
Freedom is worth the fight. Don’t put up with oppression, go for freedom at all cost. If you need today mental, financial, physical, emotional, psychological or marital freedom, stand up and fight. You can’t change what you are unwilling to confront. At the end, the prize of freedom far outweighs the comfort of slavery. Luther did exactly that. He fought for the freedom of the black. He knew they deserved
7. Leave the World better than you Met it.
Luther was born into the world where he and his people were considered second class citizens. They were forced to drink from separate fountains, attend separate schools, banned from restaurants, made to stand up on buses and even had to step into the gutter when white people passed them on the street. But Martin changed it! When he left the world on April 4, 1968,black people could eat where they wished, sit where they wished and walked where they wished. Few years ago, a black American became the President of the United States of America!
Luther’s dream has been fulfilled! The world is glad Luther came. In 1983, US Congress established the third Monday of every January as ‘Martin Luther King Day’, confirming him as one of America’s greatest leaders ever.
One day, your life on earth will be over, what legacy will you leave behind? Hope you answer that question.
Let me leave you with this from Dr. Martin Luther King:
About the Author
Felix A. Duyilemi is a Greatness and Leadership Coach who specializes in helping people create extraordinary results by becoming aware of their infinite potential. He is the creator of the 1000X Results Coaching Program, a Coaching Program designed to skyrocket your results.
Felix A. Duyilemi has written over 15 books and given more than 5000 talks on subjects ranging from Success Ideation, Mindset, Leadership, and Potential Maximization. His latest book is “How to Monetize Your Brain.”
When he’s not learning, coaching, or speaking, he’s at home enjoying the company of his amazing family!
Reach him at [email protected]