The Most Important Lesson I Learned From Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

In 1954, The Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, AL called Rev. Dr. Martin Luther, Jr. to serve as their pastor. He was just 25 years old.

A year after he arrived in Montgomery, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a public bus, and King led the Montgomery bus boycott to end segregation. His decision to lead the boycott would thrust him into the forefront of the Civil Rights Movement.


Photo courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society

Leadership isn’t about having a title. Often, the strongest leaders in an organization, and in life, are those who don’t have official titles. Who gave King permission to make a difference? No one! Why:

You don’t need permission to make a difference. 

King’s most powerful asset was his ability to focus on the task at hand. Focus and determination beat brains and intellect every time. You don’t necessarily have to be smarter or better educated to succeed.

Your power lies in your ability to focus on doing what is important. If you focus on the right things, and work at them often, you will achieve exceptional results.

Again, you don’t need permission to make a difference.

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