When I find myself thinking the circumstances of my life are insurmountable or unfair, I think of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., one of my favorite, inspirational historical figures.
I can only imagine where we’d be if he had thought that the circumstances of institutionalized racism in 1963 were an immovable, insurmountable, unfair life sentence.
What if Martin Luther King, Jr. had thought:
We are powerless.
We can’t do anything about this.
This will never change.
If he did think those thoughts (and he very well could have in his hours of darkness), he didn’t let them have the final say.
Dr. King was a New Thought Creator Extraordinaire.
A shining example of this is his “I Have a Dream” speech, delivered on August 28, 1963, which was teaming with nearly 60 faith- and hope-producing new thoughts that galvanized his people and a nation.
He shared with the nation dozens of brilliantly conceived new thoughts which were needed in order to fuel abundant action designed to end legalized racism:
Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.
We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their self-hood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating: “For Whites Only.”
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.”
With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.
I teach my clients to design and choose to think the most abundant thoughts that they 100% believe. Dr. King’s speech exemplifies the pinnacle of abundant thinking, especially in light of the circumstances that triggered them. Believing 100% in one’s new thoughts is key, and there is no doubt that Dr. King believed with every fiber of his being in the thoughts that he was sharing.
He gave the nation a new perspective, painted a new picture, and offered replacement thoughts for anyone who might be weary from the circumstances of 1963. To people who might have been thinking of resorting to violence or those whose faith was waning or who were ready to give up entirely, he delivered the gift of a host of new thoughts as if to say, “Here. I have just what you need. Think these thoughts instead!”:
We refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. …
Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning.
Now is the time to make real the promise of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. …
I have a dream that one day 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. …
By tuning in to these thoughts and many more that Dr. King provided in his speech, millions felt inspiration and hope which caused them to march and boycott and join together to peacefully protest racism in America – ultimately resulting in its demise.
Further, Martin Luther King, Jr. was future-focused rather than being mired in negative thoughts about the past or thinking that the past equals the future. He knew that changing his thoughts now to abundant ones and showing the nation how to do the same would change the nation’s future. He infused his speech with images and descriptions of the future he saw so clearly and invited others to see it, too.
Given the circumstances, Dr. King could have easily had a Thought Model that looked like the following:
Circumstance: Institutionalized racism
Thought: This will never change
Feeling: Futile, hopeless
Action: Give up
Result: This never changes
But (thank God Almighty) Dr. King’s Thought Model was simply this:
Circumstance: Institutionalized racism
Thought: “I have a dream…”
Feeling: Faith, hope
Action: “Work together, pray together, struggle together, go to jail together, stand up for freedom together”
Result: “Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last.”
If Martin Luther King, Jr. could think abundant, empowering, inspirational, future-focused thoughts about his circumstances, then I can think abundant, empowering, inspirational, future-focused thoughts about mine.
And I’ll bet you can, too.
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For the full text and audio of Dr. King’s speech, click here.