Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., African American pastor and civil rights activist, is renowned throughout the world for his unwavering dedication to the American Civil Rights Movement and his enduring legacy of sacrifice and service. King’s example of devoted service to his community, country, and fellowmen has shown me that the secret to achieving meaning, happiness, and satisfaction in life is impartial love for all men and selfless service.
As Martin Luther King said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” Many people go through life feeling that their existence is pointless. Dr. King’s life and writings demonstrate that meaning is found through the devoted service of others. Dr. King declared, “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.” The only way for a person, or nation, to overcome the evils of the world—poverty, hunger, depression, anger, violence, prejudice, racism—is to cast aside his or her own concerns and self-interests and see mankind not as separate people, cultures, and races, but as members of one family—the family of humanity—who all must face the same challenges. Only then can all men work together to overcome these challenges and improve the world.
Dr. King also stated, “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.” When we forget ourselves and dedicate our lives to the service of others, our focus will not be what we do not have or wish was different in our lives—on the things that make us unhappy. Instead, our energy will be directed toward bringing happiness to others, which will, in turn, bring happiness into our own lives, as well as make our communities a better place to live. Even small acts of service to others will bring a great sense of satisfaction in knowing that we have helped another and made the world a better place.
From Dr. Martin Luther King, I have realized that the best way to obtain happiness and satisfaction in life is to serve my fellowmen and community. Though I may not change the world and my words may not last through time, I can impact my community by participating in local charities, food drives, and other service events and, when I am old enough, by supporting and electing officials who will strive to aid my community.
Service is the secret to success, happiness, and satisfaction for each individual. It is the key to ending strife among men and improving this world, one action at a time. In the words of Martin Luther King, “Everybody can be great. Because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve..... You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”