The Big 8 Success Principles Garnered from the Words of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King

Civil Rights Photographs of Joseph M. Chapman 1960-68 At 16th Street Baptist Church. Some Frames may be early May.

By: Kyle Colley

Dr. Martin Luther King was a man of many words and had a drive that was seen around the world.  He was an activist and a leader that touched the lives of many people. Most people know him for being a dreamer, but he stood for so much more.

In 2015, the fight is no longer for basic equal rights, but for the ultimate standard of justice for all creeds. Dr. King and numerous other activists’ actions will be left in history if we do not ask ourselves this question, “ Will I be a person who lives with integrity and expresses love towards people rather than hate?”

If your answer is yes, here are eight success principles that can be highlighted from words spoken by Dr. Martin Luther King.

1) Finding Your Purpose [or Passion] and What Your Willing to Die For

“If a man has not discovered something that he will die for, he isn’t fit to live”

This is an interesting quote to think about, because often times as humans we are so focused on outside influences that we often overlook our core values. We need to focus on our core beliefs and discover the cause or causes that we are willing to give our time and lives for.

Whether it be chasing our dreams, dealing with our family, justice for all or the pursuit of personal freedom, as humans who want to add value to the world, we should decide to discover our reason(s) for living.

   2) Courage  

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about that matter”

Courage is the defining personality trait that allows exceptional leaders to lead. We must use our voices to be vocal about injustices and wrongdoings otherwise we allow those injustices to be just. It takes courage to stand out in front of the masses and speak the words that are rarely spoken. People of good virtue cannot be silent and let the belligerent speak freely.

    3) Strong Character

“Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education”

Formal education is often times forced down the throats of students along with hours of monotonous curriculum with a lack of focus for personal/character development. Lack of character development goes hand in hand with the crime rate and other treacherous problems America faces on a daily basis.

In the momentous words of Howard Thurman, “What the world needs is people who have come alive.” Intelligence is mighty important, however without sound character it remains in vain.

    4) Love & Acceptance

“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend”

The people of the world run off the energy of love and harmony demonstrated between one another. Expressing an abundance of love, can reach anybody no matter how much they show it.

People that lead with love in their heart often learn that love is the only possible answer to make the world go around; Everyone knows this, however, only the courageous ones live by this standard. Love is a residual energy, meaning by exhibiting love you gain peace within.

    5) Faith

“I just want to do God’s will. And he’s allowed me to go to the mountain. And I’ve looked over, and I’ve seen the promised land! I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the promised land”

What religion you follow is trivial, what ultimately matters is how strong your faith is. People that believe in a higher power can maneuver through life’s woes without placing all the hardships on themselves or others because they have faith that their creator always looks out for their best interest. Faith is critical for success because you have to see the finish line (end goal) even when you are in the midst of the race.

    6) Selflessness

“Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality”

Just like any sports team, if one person shows bad sportsmanship the whole team gets label as such. Selflessness takes time to develop and interestingly enough it is best developed by investing in yourself.

As you become more aware of growing and being a better version of yourself, you allow yourself to have empathy for people who have yet to find who they are. You will become interested in the service of other people. Selflessness is key to success because you must realize that great ideas come from any and all sources and that you might not have all of the answers.

    7) Not Good, But Excellence

“Whatever your life’s work is, do it well. A man should do his job so well that the living, the dead, and the unborn could do it no better”

Nothing is worth doing if it is not your best work because time is ultimately either invested or wasted. You must realize that your best is good enough, as long as you are willing to give your best and nothing less.

Everyone wants to flow with the current because it is easy and safe, but the people who decide to swim against it and strive for excellence extract all the greatness that is within them.

    8) Persistence/Hope

“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope”

The ones that stick and search for the solution to a problem long enough will persevere because the mind fixates on the resolution. We all face adversity, some more than others, however we have to always have our purpose fuel our drive. Colin Powell once spoke these words, “Success is the result of perfection, hard work, learning from failure, loyalty, and persistence,” be intentional and when a challenge arise, embrace it.

P.S. I apologize for the lack of posts over the last couple weeks, I have been getting acclimated to the college work cycle. However, I ask that you all please send me some feedback on this article. I am an avid quote reader and if you find this type of analyzing useful, leave a comment and I will continue to highlight other historical figures quotes and messages. I have also attached one of my favorite King speeches below! Thank you kindly.

– The Tribe of Building Minds Faster

Proverb: Awaken the King/Queen that is within you because the world is in need of what your presence can present.  

Kyle Colley is a sophomore political science major from Denver, Colorado who attends Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. 

Editors: Kristopher Colley II and Janet Colley


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