I’m sure you hear a lot about having good role models, maybe even to the point of being a little tired of it. In a few days, Americans will be officially celebrating one of its most esteemed and inspirational people.
Most Americans, and many throughout the world, have probably heard about Martin Luther King, Jr. before. But, today I want to talk about how he can be a great role model in helping you become more confident, successful, popular, and make you a better leader.
If you can become like him, you’ll succeed in whatever you do.
He Had Courage
Standing up for yourself and your values make other admire you. King stood up for his values of equality for all people, even in the face of extreme opposition. He was hated by many, but beloved by countless more (his haters don’t have a holiday named after them, do they?).
At school, you should never compromise your values just to fit in. In most cases, even those who disagree with you will admire you, so long as you aren’t overbearing, obnoxious, or negative about your positions. Speaking of that…
He Used Power, Not Force
Many people resort to force to get their opinions heard (maybe even your parents, teachers, and friends). “Force” behaviors and attitudes include using shame, guilt, apathy, violence, and threats.
Martin Luther King, Jr didn’t work that way. He used true power: courage, love, and peace, to persuade and inspire, which came through his example of non-violence.
Sometimes you may feel like you have to belittle others or even bully them to be heard. You’ll be heard, but only briefly, before being hated. Be confident and stick to your values. But, also be kind and understanding. Be cool. Don’t resort to force, whether physical or emotional.
Popularity and leadership are ultimately a numbers game, where you win over as many people as possible. Martin Luther King didn’t care about popularity, but he did care about bringing in anyone willing to help his cause.
He didn’t insist his supporters be of one religion, race, or political position. If you want to be popular and a leader, you have to take this same view.
Don’t restrict your friends to one group of people, like the rich kids or athletes. Who knows? Maybe the person you thought was a jerk or “beneath you” is actually a pretty cool person.
So, on Martin Luther King Day, and every day, I hope you can follow his path and stand up for your values, while also being cool and inclusive towards other people.