The Power of Martin

“Persistence, Avarice & Ambition

can fire you into a powerful force of one.

But Compassion will put an army behind you.”*

It is one of my less funny quips, but every Ides of January it seeps back into my mind.  Dr. Martin Luther King displayed the power of compassion like few others seen or recorded in human history.  In August 1963, an estimated a quarter million people joined the March on Washington following Rev. King.  They embraced his mission and dream of civil rights in America.  That’s two and a half times the number of soldiers either Adolph Hitler or Genghis Kahn could muster as they launched their bloody campaigns.

‘Tis a simple, yet oft neglected human truth:  Show people that you hold a sincere concern for their pain and want to alleviate it, and they will flock to your banner much more readily than if all you can say is, “we both hate the same group of other folks.”  Loyalty comes from love and lasts a lifetime.  The rallying point of mutual hate is a flickering flame and must ever be fueled with fear.

The hopeful news is that more and more business leaders’ eyes are opening to the power of compassion.  That feeling of honest concern sustains in a way that all the other whipped-up motivational techniques are powerless to bestow.  I do indeed witness this hopeful shift.

So may we all this day honor the amazing tangible and inspirational achievements of Dr. Martin Luther King.  Yet, if I may, allow me to point out one major pitfall.  Beware of labeling Mr. King or any other individual of note as a “genius.”  This term is too often employed as as an easy avenue into inertia.  “You know, King, Einstein, Jobs – they were geniuses.  I am not so gifted, so why should I bother?”

Well, my friend, you have every bit of the genius you require to make your mark.  It is not how fertile stands the land you were given – it’s how well you cultivate it.  Perhaps in memory of Rev. King, now is the time for all of us to get our hands dirty.

And please, don’t keep compassion in your heart.  Let it out to roam and glisten on all you meet.

Wishing you every success,

– Bart Jackson