Raising the level of your leadership

Remembering MLK Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. would make any thinking persons’ list of the top five 20th Century leaders in America. Who else would you put on the list? (Send in a comment and I’ll post it for everyone to see.)

Monday (1/21) is MLK Jr. Day. I will join in the celebration at Williamson College; millions more will observe the day all across the US. For African-Americans, MLK Jr. Day is more significant than July 4th—they were still slaves in 1776.

We tend to think of MLK Jr. in terms of the civil rights movement of the ‘60s—and well we should. But in this post, I want to remember him by sharing some of his thoughts about life in general.

I wish our politicians of all stripes were not guilty of…
MLK Jr.: Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think.

Are you in a job that seems insignificant? It’s not!
MLK Jr.: All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.

What are you most concerned about: how you live or how long you will live?
MLK Jr.: The quality, not the longevity, of one’s life is what is important.

Go ahead and do that thing that you have been putting of because it is hard.
MLK Jr.: We are faced with the fact, my friends, that tomorrow is today. Procrastination is still the thief of time.

Before you judge someone, make sure he has a pair of boots.
MLK Jr.: It’s all right to tell a man to lift himself by his own bootstraps, but it is cruel jest to say to a bootless man that he ought to lift himself by his own bootstraps.

There are about 38 million African-Americans who are distinctly better off because of the life of Martin Luther King Jr.; actually, all of us are distinctly better off because of the life of Martin Luther King Jr.

[If this post was interesting and significant to you, please forward it to a friend.]

© Copyright 2013 by Dick Wells, The Hard Lessons Company

4 responses to “Remembering MLK Jr.”

  1. Maurice Painter says:

    My top five 20th Century leaders are, in order of importance to me,
    Jesus Christ (alive and leading still)
    Ronald Reagan
    Billy Graham
    Peter Drucker
    Thomas Sowell.
    Dr. King would be in my top 10, along with General Eisenhour. Thomas Watson, Lafley of P&G, and Thomas Painter, my father.

    • Dick Wells says:

      Maurice, love that you included Billy Graham. And putting your dad on top ten list is very telling. Thanks, Dick

  2. My first response to the greatest leaders list is “whoever Maurice Painter and Dick Wells say”! However, other names I would also submit include Fred Smith (founded an entire industry that did not exist despite counsel to the contrary and a management philosophy -People, Service, Profit- that was way before it’s time), Bill Hybels, and Jack Welch. They were all tranformational, innovative, and have many leaders worldwide still learning from their leadership.

    • Dick Wells says:

      Thanks, Mitch. All your choices are good ones. My favorite biz leader is Darwin Smith of Kimberly Clark. Jim Collins named him as one of the ten greatest of ALL TIME. I am also a big fan of Hybels.

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