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31 MLK Quotes to Inspire you Toward Your Goals


Now that the newness of the New Year has worn off, it is incredibly easy to lose sight of our goals. Instead of giving up and throwing in the towel, we can be inspired by one man who was so committed to his goal that he changed the course of history.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is well known as the leader of the civil rights movement in the United States of America in the 1960’s. Not surprisingly, we find his words often quoted to remind us of the importance of racial justice and equality. Today, however, rather than look at his famous sayings, let’s turn our attention to some of his lesser-known quotes for a fresh dose of inspiration.

I’ve selected 31 of my favourite MLK quotes to keep you motivated and moving toward your goals. Choose one for each day of the month and keep them on repeat throughout the year.

  1. “Not everybody can be famous, but everybody can be great because greatness is determined by service… You only need a heart full of grace and a soul generated by love.”
  2. “If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.”
  3. “Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.”
  4. “A lie cannot live.”
  5. “We cannot walk alone.”
  6. “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”
  7. “Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase; just take the first step.”
  8. “We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right.”
  9. “There is nothing more tragic than to find an individual bogged down in the length of life, devoid of breadth.”
  10. “An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”
  11. “There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love.”
  12. “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”
  13. “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”
  14. “Only in the darkness can you see the stars.”
  15. “There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but he must take it because his conscience tells him it is right.”
  16. “No one really knows why they are alive until they know what they’d die for.”
  17. “A man who won’t die for something is not fit to live.”
  18. “He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love.”
  19. “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”
  20. “Those who are not looking for happiness are the most likely to find it, because those who are searching forget that the surest way to be happy is to seek happiness for others.”
  21. “Never succumb to the temptation of bitterness.”
  22. “No person has the right to rain on your dreams.”
  23. “You will change your mind; You will change your looks; You will change your smile, laugh, and ways but no matter what you change, you will always be you.”
  24. “Whatever your life’s work is, do it well. A man should do his job so well that the living, the dead, and the unborn could do it no better.”
  25. “Everything that we see is a shadow cast by that which we do not see.”
  26. “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
  27. “Forgiveness is not an occasional act; it is a constant attitude.”
  28. “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”
  29. “Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.”
  30. “Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle.”
  31. “Everybody can be great … because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”

How about you?

If you were to choose your favourite MLK quote to keep you inspired, which one would it be?