Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is one of the most well-known civil rights activists in history. One of his most iconic speeches, “I Have a Dream”, has been memorized and quoted by people of all ages and races. And, even though his dream has yet to be fully realized, we continue to learn from the words and example his untimely death left behind. One of those examples is one we can use right now — hope and focus in the midst of adversity.
In October 1960, while expecting his third child with his wife, Coretta Scott King, Dr. King found himself, as he had many times prior, in jail. His crime — fighting for justice and equality for African Americans. Or as Congressman John Lewis would put it, “Good trouble.” As he sat incarcerated, Dr. King sent a letter to his wife. In it, we get a glimpse into the hope and unrelenting focus that was embedded in King’s soul.
Here are six things Dr. King’s letter teaches us that we can apply no matter our age or occupation.
1. Do the work to understand your why.
2. The strength we exude has the power to strengthen those closest to us.
3. Believe that your dedication and hard work will pay off. Even if you can’t see it at the moment.
4. Ask for help, but be mindful to acknowledge what that help might require of others.
5. Stay in student mode, especially when you’re being tested.
6. Remain hopeful.
As Dr. King once said, “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”