Today we honor the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a true leader who used a positive attitude and non-violent protest to be an agent of change during the civil rights movements and long after his assassination. Dr. King was on the front lines of a battle against a massive system rooted in injustice against blacks and minorities. A system that some people thought would be impossible to change… especially using non-violent methods. But Dr. King held on to a positive attitude. He held himself, America, and the people of this country capable.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr was undoubtedly a positive thinker. Here is how our 6 steps of Positive Thinking would relate to Dr. King’s accomplishments:
Step 1: Clarify your objective.
He had a dream which is the first step to accomplishing anything big or small. Imagine, dream, and think of what you want.
Step 2: Do you believe it is possible to achieve?
Notice that we are not asking if it is probable, only if it is possible. Dr. King most certainly did believe. “Deep in my heart I do believe we shall overcome. And with this faith we will go out and adjourn the councils of despair and bring new light into the dark chambers of pessimism.” -Dr. Martin Luther King’s ‘We Shall Overcome Speech’, June 17, 1966.
Step 3: Think about what it looks like to achieve it.
How would you have to be? What type of characteristics would be beneficial? Dr. King was detailed in what he saw for the future of blacks and whites getting a long. “I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit together at the table of brotherhood.” (Martin Luther King, I Have a Dream Quote) Dr. King saw in detail that peaceful means were crucial to success.
Step 4: Breathe.
We use the breath to ground ourselves. With a calm mind we operate more effectively. “No matter how emotional your opponents are, you must be calm.” (Dr. King’s autobiography). Be calm in the storm requires control over your breath and mind. We often talk about the analogy of the bolder rolling down the hill for an emotion running rampant. The closer to the top you can recognize the bolder moving the easier it will be to stop or redirect it rather than being victim to its path and gravity. One night in 1956 someone bombed Dr. King’s home. “I was once more on the verge of corroding hatred. And once more I caught myself and said: ‘You must not allow yourself to become bitter’.” (Dr. King’s autobiography)
Step 5: Check in Physically.
Take on the appropriate posture. Look the part. Dr. King carried himself with great dignity. His posture was strong. He moved passionately during his speeches. He looked comfortable during interviews. Dr. King did not show up for demonstrations or speeches looking like he just got out of bed. He dressed in appropriate suits and looked all the part of a powerful and peaceful leader.
Step 6: Perform naturally.
Dr. King was a natural leader and orator. When he gives these famous speeches or philosophizes on non-violent protests as a catalyst for change, he is acting naturally. He is not caught up in regrets of yesterday or worries of tomorrow. He is immersed in the moment of now. Yes, he is talking about a better tomorrow but HE is totally present in the moment. It is through these moments of being present that he was able to move a nation and lead America to a better, more just democracy and lead us all further down the path of equality.
Thank you Dr. King.
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