Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s tale of the street sweeper teaches you to be the best at what you do regardless of your situation in life. That we should always aspire to be the best in our work and in our life.
Six months before he was assassinated, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr spoke to a group of students at Barratt Junior High School in Philadelphia on October 26, 1967. Part of his “What Is Your Life’s Blueprint?” speech is the tale of the street sweeper. It is inspiration that regardless of what we do we should always aspire to be the best we can at what we do. It is one of our favorite and most inspirational Dr. King speeches.
And when you discover what you will be in your life, set out to do it as if God Almighty called you at this particular moment in history to do it. Don’t just set out to do a good job. Set out to do such a good job that the living, the dead or the unborn couldn’t do it any better.
If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, sweep streets like Beethoven composed music, sweep streets like Leontyne Price sings before the Metropolitan Opera. Sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry. Sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will have to pause and say: Here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well. If you can’t be a pine at the top of the hill, be a shrub in the valley. Be be the best little shrub on the side of the hill.
Be a bush if you can’t be a tree. If you can’t be a highway, just be a trail. If you can’t be a sun, be a star. For it isn’t by size that you win or fail. Be the best of whatever you are.
In life it does not, nor should not, matter what you do in your profession. As long as you are passionate about it and you give it your very best, then the true reward of fulfillment can be experienced. I have a special appreciation for anyone that finds their passion, hones in on it with brut dedication and commitment, and clings to it with all their might. We can learn a valuable lesson in Dr. King’s street sweeper speech.
In honor of the great Dr. King.