Dr. King had the keys way before DJ Khaled — stay woke.
We often claim we don’t have enough of it, yet it always seems to be there when we need it most. The following is a quote Dr. King wrote in a letter while sitting in a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963 that has really struck a cord with me today:
“Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to be co workers with God, and without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation. We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right.”
Obviously, this was during a time when Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat weren’t available to distract him from doing the work, but it was during a time when there were people and systems that wanted to restrict him from speaking peacefully and organizing diligently to bring forth justice for black people living in America.
Even though he was often talked about, lied on, harassed, arrested, and had his life and the life of his family threatened, he still made the time to change the world with the resources, skills and gifts that he had. As he sat in jail cells in the south, he used his words to provide hope, conviction and to challenge Americans to question the injustice and inequality that was placed upon people of color.
So why do we consistently complain about not having time to do the things that are necessary to help push our dreams forward?
“Actually, time itself is neutral; it can be used either destructively or constructively. More and more I feel that the people of ill will have used time much more effectively than have the people of good will.”
Call me naive, but I like to believe that we all have a hefty ounce of good will within us. We all want to see our ideas come to life, collaborate with fellow creatives, and build meaningful things that will establish the legacy we want to leave behind one day. However, we must be committed to using our 24 hours effectively and efficiently if we really want to be the change we wish to see.
For the first days of this new year, these are just a few of the ways that I’ve chosen to use my time creatively:
- Waking up early each morning for meditation, prayer and journal time before going to work.
- Reading books not only for my enjoyment, but ones that will open new windows to my creativity. Peep my list of 20 I think you should read in 2017 here.
- Having conversations with friends and loved ones that are uplifting, lighthearted and positively challenging.
- Following up and following through on things that I said I was going to do.
- Putting myself on for opportunities that may not yield fruit immediately, but will in the weeks and months to come.
- Extending grace and patience to myself when I may not meet my goals.
- Trusting my progress, the process and that greater things that I probably can’t even fathom right now are on their way.
This week, ask yourself: am I using my time in the most constructive way? How can I use my resources not only to help myself, but also to help others?
Let us all be inspired by Dr. King’s relentlessness to create change regardless of his circumstances, and think about how we can intentionally MAKE time to do those things that bring us joy, push forward positive action and allow for our God-given creativity to shine.
Thank you, Dr. King.