Everybody Can Be Great, Because Everybody Can Serve

One of my favorite quotes came up twice during our conference:

“Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve.”

It comes from Martin Luther King, Jr. in one of his final speeches before he was killed.

If you want to be important—wonderful. If you want to be recognized—wonderful. If you want to be great—wonderful. But recognize that he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. That's a new definition of greatness. By giving that definition of greatness, it means that everybody can be great, because everybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You don't have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. You don't have to know Einstein's theory of relativity to serve. You don't have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love. And you can be that servant.

Matt talked about this idea in his book Serve To Be Great as something he learned between the prison, monastery and the boardroom. Mozart talked about it being something central to his life and his work as a social worker. Personally I’ve found the quote to be huge in my daily reflections on what I am doing. All of us can be great. All of us can serve.

Wherever you are and whatever you may be doing, this “new definition of greatness” that King talks about is available to each of us every moment.