I couldn’t imagine a more fitting tribute to the legacy and life of Martin Luther King Jr than the second term inauguration of President Barack Obama on the day Americans celebrate his birthday. So in honour of the day, I thought I would share a few of my favorite MLK quotes and what they have meant to me personally.
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. Martin Luther King, Jr.
For me, this has meant taking on challenges that are nasty, gnarly, and complex. It is easy to be calm and composed when things are going well, my daily challenge is to keep the positivity and fresh perspective even when it seems the cards are all stacked against me.
A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus. Martin Luther King, Jr.
As a leader of large organisations, I have found several people that spend weeks, months, years! trying to get to an agreement on direction and strategy. And nothing gets done. This quote inspires me to try to balance democracy with action. Getting things done by gathering opinion quickly and getting to a decision, then driving support for the decision.
We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies. Martin Luther King, Jr.
If I had a dollar for every person that smiled in my face then stabbed me in the back … well France would take 75% of it in taxes….. Also, we all know those types that beat us up when things are bad and forget to make any comments when things are good. Finally, there are some people that despite the best intentions just screw up. For all of the above, my philosophy is based on MLK’s principles (borrowed, of course, from the teachings in the Bible): Forgive! Forgive! Forgive! I frankly don’t have the time or energy to hold grudges. Don’t be fooled, however, into thinking that means I can be walked over. I do act and take decisions based on the grievances. I simply move on immediately thereafter.
I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear. Martin Luther King, Jr.
See above! And, also my previous blogs on who to love. Life is simply too short to do anything less than love unconditionally.
That’s my short list and there are many many more quotes from this great yet flawed man. I learn much from him and from others and look forward to gleaning from the texts of today’s leaders for examples, both good and bad, of being a leader in this changing world.
For today, I say congratulations to President Barack Obama and to his family. May the next four years bring you the sense of accomplishment you desire but also the peace and love that comes with family, friends, and a sense that you have not compromised your values.
Be Well. Lead On.
For more information on life, work, and death of Martin Luther King Jr, here are a few web sources: