“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
-The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., 1957
We live in a time when both corporations and individuals are rewarded for eliciting emotions. Emotions keep us engaged, so individuals seeking notoriety or trying to monetize their content, and corporations who make money every time we click a link, or every second we stay on a page, have strong motivations to keep our emotions engaged.
Unfortunately, the easiest emotions to tap into are fear and anger.
In this environment, it can be hard to take a breath, to step back, and to remember that we all have common cause. We all want to feel safe, and yet have freedom to choose. We want to be able to feed and house our loved ones and ourselves. We want to see ourselves and our values reflected in the society we live in. And we want a better world for those who come after us.
Obviously, there is much disagreement about how to achieve those things.
If we can remain respectful…
If we can listen…
If we can see ourselves in the eyes of each other…
Then we have a chance to find the path forward, and to get there together.
One of the definitions of leadership is influence. As leaders, we have influence. The most marvelous thing is that we get to choose how we use that influence.
My hope for each of us is that we can find the courage and faith to model a positive path forward.
Happy Martin Luther King Day.