“There is nothing more tragic than to find an individual bogged down in the length of life, devoid of breadth.” — Martin Luther King Jr.
On Martin Luther King day in the United States, I celebrated quietly by reading some of his words and doing my part to lift up instead of pushing down. No doubt, he’d be disappointed with much of the world since he was assassinated, recognizing much of the rhetoric even if the characters have changed. But he’d be pleased at the growth in diversity, understanding and acceptance. And he might give a nod to the persistent courage of those who champion what’s right in this world.
I’ve embraced the long game, trying to outlast and grow beyond the worst tendencies in my own life, and work continuously to pick up habits and knowledge that gradually broaden my view. If we are what we repeatedly do, and we are the average of the five people we associate with the most, and we are each a work in progress, then we must build better habits, broaden our circle of influence towards the person we wish to become and stick with it through thick and thin.
The thing is, nobody wants to be told what to think, the only path to meaningful change is to help people see. That’s not easy to do in a world full of noise and amplified division, but the alternative is to give up. Look around and ask, what are we growing into? The only way to drown out the hate is to grow a larger chorus. The way we live, the things we tolerate and the way we treat others carries a weight far more impactful than words.