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Lessons in creative problem solving from MLK

Martin Luther King Jr. may be one of the most well-known and oft-quoted leaders of our time. But did you ever stop to think that his inspirational aphorisms on justice, peace, and equality might also hold the keys to creative problem-solving?

Looking closely at many of his writings and speeches, we uncovered some gems that can illuminate the way forward when you’re stuck in a personal or professional rut.


The thing about solving problems–especially of the thorny variety–is that in our quest for a certain outcome, we don’t necessarily know the path that will take us there. This is where MLK’s wisdom comes in handy. He urges us to just get started and believe in our ability to climb even though we may not be able to visualize the top.

Having faith also means that you need to have a deep-rooted belief in the parts of the process you know you can control. In a literal sense, you know you can raise your leg and put your foot in the middle of the first step and pull yourself up. When it comes to other goals, like negotiating a raise or interviewing for a job, you know that when you enter the room you can smile, shake hands, and look the other person in the eye. Visualizing these small actions and believing that you can do them, can affect the outcome in a positive way–even if you don’t get the pay bump or the position.

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