Clarity of purpose and direction is one of the keys to career and life success in my Common Sense Success System. I discuss it in several of my books: Straight Talk for Success, Your Success GPS, Star Power, I Want YOU…To Succeed and 42 Rules to Jumpstart Your Professional Success.
To develop your personal clarity or purpose you need to do three things. First, define what success means to you personally. Second, create a vivid mental image of you as a success. This image should be as vivid as you can you make it. Third, clarify your personal values.
Today is Martin Luther King Day in the USA. Dr. King is one of my personal heroes. He helped lead our nation out of the dehumanizing segregation policies that flourished in the post civil war period. More than any other single person, I believe he was responsible for the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Today a black man is president of the USA something that would have been unthinkable on August 28, 1963, the day Dr. King delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.
I bring up Dr. King and the “I Have a Dream” speech because it is the embodiment of clarity of purpose and direction. Read the words below and see how they so clearly describe Dr. King’s vision of success, for himself and the nation; and how they present a vivid depiction of what success meant to him.
“And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”
“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 down together at the table of brotherhood.
“I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
“I have a dream today!
“I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of “interposition” and “nullification” — one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
“I have a dream today!
“I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; ‘and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together’.”
Those are powerful words. Can you see how they demonstrate Dr. King’s clarity of purpose and direction? He carried on his work well after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 became law, because he knew that legislation alone does not bring out societal change.
What is your dream? Can you articulate it clearly and vividly as Dr. King?
Dr. King also lived his personal values. One of his quotes is sadly prophetic. “A man who won’t die for something is not fit to live.”
Dr. King was gunned down and Killed on April 4, 1968 in Memphis, TN by James Earl Ray. Today we celebrate his legacy and message.
The common sense point here is simple. Successful people are clear about their purpose and direction in life. To clarify your purpose and direction in life, you need to do three things. First, define what success means to you personally. Second, create a vivid mental image of you as a success. This image should be as vivid as you can you make it. Third, clarify your personal values. Few people have demonstrated such a clear sense of purpose and direction for their lives as Dr. Martin Luther King who we celebrate today. His famous “I Have a Dream” speech is one of the best examples of a clear, vivid description of not only personal success, but success for us as a society. “I have a dream… that little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.” The dream is alive – although we still need to keep working on it.
That’s my take on Dr. Martin Luther King and clarity of purpose and direction. What’s yours? Please take a few minutes to leave a comment, sharing your thoughts with us. As always, thanks for reading.
PS: You can read the transcript of the “I Have a Dream” speech and listen to an mp3 at http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/mlkihaveadream.htm/