What Must be in Our Life’s Blueprint by Martin Luther King Jr.

The Foundation

As a writer, I spend a substantial amount of time looking for the best ways to capture the attention of my readers. This was more important for today’s post because it’s an opener to a subject that holds the key to enabling us to reach our full potential. In the next four posts, we will cover topics on personal growth. Personal growth has the profound effect of unlocking our potential to become the best version of who were created to be. Growth is the foundation of all achievement and success. Whether you want to excel in a personal goal such as becoming the best artist or leader, or you want to see your business or organization become profitable, even yet, if you want to do something that positively impacts the society at large, personal growth is the bedrock for turning desires into results. Personal growth assures you that your future self will be better than your past and present self. When we devote to a lifestyle of growth and development, we have the means to live the life we eagerly long for and the incentives to live our best lives.

Means & Incentives

It’s not the lack of purpose that frustrates us, it’s the inability to fulfill our mission that does. It’s not the inability to set a goal and start it that makes us feel powerless; it is looking at the goals that we set and started but didn’t complete that drains our passion. Person growth provides the means to fulfill our purpose and accomplish the goals we set. And the incentives of personal growth is increased capacity to fulfill our purpose and attain success in life. Your life’s purpose and the things that you would like to do that will bring you great satisfaction, demand you increase your capacity by committing to a life of growth.

Our greatest hindrance to committing to personal growth and development is lack of or having a life’s blueprint that’s not well thought out. The legendary civil rights leader, the late Martin Luther King Jr., speaking to students who were graduating in Philadelphia, provided them with three pillars, which he believed were essential to a life’s blueprint. Even though Dr. King didn’t mention personal growth in his speech, I believe that these pillars are important to a blueprint that will lead to a lifetime of growth.

1. A deep belief in your own dignity, worth, and somebodiness

The first pillar to our life’s blueprint, according to Dr. King, was a deep belief in one’s dignity, worth, and uniqueness. This pillar hit on three crucial elements that are at the root of personal growth and development: self-worth, purpose, and significance. The third law of growth, The Law of the Mirror, from Dr. John C. Maxwell’s book, The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth, states, “You must see value in yourself to add value to yourself.” Dr. King emphasized the necessity of us having a deep belief in our own dignity or self-worth. He understood that we couldn’t grow if we don’t see our true worth. When we see our value, we discover our purpose. I have observed that people who have found their purpose in life actively seek ways to develop themselves. They understand that their purpose is always higher than where they are. Therefore, they need to grow to fulfill their purpose. A clear observation of anyone’s purpose, including yours and mine, uncovers another truth. A purpose-driven life always achieves to live a life of significance. Once we fully or deeply believe our own dignity, worth, and somebodiness (a word coined by Dr. King), we activate the second pillar in our life’s blueprint, a determination to achieve excellence in all our endeavors.

2. Determination to achieve excellence in your endeavors

A question I have recently been asking myself is this: What is one thing that I can do or can be doing that I could be considered a world-class in? As I explored this question, I discovered one important truth. Whatever anyone can do to be considered a world-class, there must be an element of excellence in his or her work. But excellence doesn’t come naturally. We have to strive to be excellent. I believe this is why Dr. King said it must be a determination to achieve excellence in all endeavors. 

When we have a determination to achieve excellence woven into our being, three things will happen. First, we will always be optimistic and determined to improve anything we do. Second, we will have a never give up spirit. We will always see anything through to the end, no matter the degree of difficulty. Third, we will always stand out. In a world where competition is fierce and full of mediocre work, the only way, which has always been the best way to move above the pile is to be excellent in any work you get to do.

There is only one secret to achieve excellence, which is tucked in a Bible verse that says, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might” (Ecclesiastes 9:10). All your might means all effort or strength, which includes your mind, soul, and body. To do this, you have to possess an attitude that another Bible verse tells about. It says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for God, not for human masters” (Colossians 3:23). Why God? Because when your work is connected to a power greater than you or something supernatural, that’s when your work will make a difference. Dr. King promised that when we have the determination to achieve excellence in our endeavors, then not only will the world respond, but even heaven and the heavenly host will notice. But the determination to achieve excellence is not going to be possible without the third pillar in our life’s blueprint, a commitment to the internal principle of beauty, love, and justice.

3. Commitment to the internal principle of beauty, love, and justice

It is impossible to grow consistently and fully benefit from your growth plan if your mind is jammed with negative thinking. This third pillar that Dr. King pointed to is instrumental in orienting our minds to positive and power thinking.

People such as Dr. King, Mahatma Gandhi, and Nelson Mandela who fought inequality and sacrificed much for their fellow countrymen to be awarded a fair playground for their economic and social prosperity, not only had a commitment to the eternal principle of beauty, love, and justice, they also committed to growth. They understood that only when we have an eternal perspective of beauty, love, and justice, can we have hope. And where there is hope, there is positive thinking as well.

What are these eternal principles? The eternal principle of beauty is understanding that you’re beautiful, and everyone else is as beautiful as you are. About love, know that God loved us first, and we are to love one another. And justice is knowing that everyone is to be treated with fairness. This third pillar allows us to live beyond ourselves. It enables us to grow and desire growth for others.

In summary, it’s important to examine what’s in your life’s blueprint carefully. In essence, you need to see whether the foundational principles you live by are allowing you to grow or preventing you from growth. The litmus test for growth is how you handle life’s challenges and the quality of your relationships.

What’s Next…

Once we have our blueprints ready, we move to build our best lives as we desire and deserve. Next, I will show goal setting elements that will ensure you grow with every goal you set. Until next time. Stay safe.

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