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Thank You, Martin Luther King, Jr., for Inspiring Me to Live Fearlessly

Ashley Michelle Williams

How much time do you have left here?

By “here,” I mean on Earth.  

Don’t be alarmed. 

I am simply asking you this in existential kind of way, a way that I hope will make you realize that the greatest gift you and I both have is time. 

Think about it. 

We each have only a certain amount of time here on earth. A certain amount of time to live out our best lives, to find out who we were created to be, and to tap into the beautiful gifts bestowed upon us to positively impact the lives around us and the greater world.

For me, each year, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day brings this reality to life – I ponder just how precious time really is when it comes to the amount we’re given. 

Dr. King was only 39 years old when he died. 39. When I was a kid, that seemed so far away. But now that I’m approaching 29, I realize that although he did not live a long life, he did make huge impact. I can’t believe how much he changed the world in such a short period of time. He lived fearlessly, fighting for what he believed, while also deeply and bravely understanding that if change were to come in the fight against racism and discrimination, he may be the one to have to lead the way.

And he did. 

Fearlessly, until his untimely death. 

I mean he changed the world so much so that we are STILL celebrating his life today, more than 50 years later. 

So now I ask you: What are you going to do with the time that you have left?

Are you finally going to live out your dreams? 

Are you going to be more fearless, choosing to live wholeheartedly?

Are you going to live in such a way that future generations will know you were here? 

Are you going to use your life to create a better world in the way that only you can?

And most of all, are you going to use your passions, your talents, and your life to amplify positive change, while also inspiring others to do the same?

Well…are you

Well, let me remind you that it’s time to crank it up.

As American education reformer and abolitionist Horace Mann said, “Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity.”

Okay, maybe that’s a little extreme, but still seriously, crank it up into gear. Time is too precious to keep sitting on the sidelines waiting for the perfect moment. 

The world is waiting on you to be fearless. To be determined. To be bold. To be tenacious. We are waiting on you; we need you. 

Honestly, the older that I get, the more I realize that each of us has just one life to really make our mark on this world. 

Additionally, the older I get, the more I have become so much more thankful to people like Dr. King, my parents, motivational speaker Lisa Nichols, motivational speaker Les Brown, my mentors, and others who have inspired me along my life journey to understand that the greatest gift that we have in this life is time.

Time to live out our greatness, time to encourage others to do the same, and time to truly make an impact while we are here… I am so thankful for these individuals instilling these notions within me.

Now, realize this is your time and time is on your side at this very moment.

We are waiting on you to understand that not only the greatest gift that you have is time, but also that one of the other greatest gifts that we might have in this world is, seeing you live out the greatness within you. Be inspired to go for it. Now. 

Ashley is the founder and CEO of RIZZARR, a social publishing platform that aims to collect the voices of young people around the world to empower them and to positively transform their lives. She has a background in journalism. Ashley has worked for NBC News, WBAL Radio and USA TODAY. She graduated with honors from the University of Southern California, earning a B.A. in broadcast and digital journalism as well as minors in international relations and Spanish.

Photo via nappy.co

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