Martin Luther King Jr.
One of the greatest Americans to have ever lived, and in my opinion, one of the greatest human beings to have ever walked the earth.
He is one of my personal role models, and his life and actions have shaped my personal beliefs and the way I try to live my life.
In honor of his birthday (Jan 15) and national holiday (today), I have been reading his autobiography.
I also made it to the movie theater yesterday to watch Selma.
Both the book and the film are absolutely phenomenal, and I highly recommend them both to anyone interested in bettering themselves spiritually and mentally.
That brings me to the subject of this post.
As you probably already know, Dr. King was, first and foremost, a preacher.
He had a bachelor’s of divinity degree from Crozer Seminary and a Ph.D from Boston University’s School of Theology.
Throughout his autobiography there are excerpts from many of his sermons.
One of these sermons, entitled “The Three Dimensions Of A Complete Life,” really struck a chord with me.
In it, Dr. Kings speaks about the length of life not being it’s duration or longevity, but the push forward to it’s personal ends and ambitions.
It is the inward concern for one’s personal welfare, the outward concern for the welfare of others, and the upward reach toward God.
He called these “The Three Dimensions of Life,” and that without the due development of all of them, no life was complete.
“Life at its best is a great triangle….Unless the three are concatenated, working harmoniously together in a single life, that life is incomplete.”
This sermon got me thinking about the three dimensions in regards to health.
So many times we tend to view the concept of “health” as a two dimensional realm.
We attribute someone’s health solely to nutrition and fitness.
This two dimensional view of healthiness is propagated by the fitness industry as well as the media.
We put so much importance on the foods we eat and the exercises we choose, and yet we tend to forget what we feed our hearts and minds.
I have fallen into this ideology before, and it wasn’t until that last few years that I realized that although nutrition and exercise are two big components of overall health, they are just two vertices in the “Triangle Of Wellness.”
What good is it to have six pack abs and impressive athleticism if we are mentally and spiritually bankrupt?
Dr. King felt that his responsibility as a preacher was not just to deliver his sermons and “change the soul of individuals,” but he also felt that he should strive to change the societies in which they lived in as well.
Therefore, he had to also be “concerned about unemployment, slums, and economic insecurity.”
As a personal trainer and someone who folks look up to for advice on health, I feel it is my responsibility to not only write and speak about nutrition and fitness, but to also inspire you to lead better lives.
I feel it is my duty to help you be the best possible human being you can be.
I would be doing you a disservice if I didn’t stress the importance of developing all three dimensions of health: mind, body and soul.
While having great eating habits and maintaining a certain level of fitness are important to me, they most certainly do not define me as a person, nor should they define you.
In my opinion, these areas of health should be part of what makes you an individual; they most certainly should not, however, be all that you are as a person.
I feel that the fitness industry as a whole as well as the society we live in tend to forget to make this very important distinction.
At the end of the day, your body fat percentage or the amount of weight you squat are irrelevant in the grand scheme of things.
Strive to better yourself physically, sure.
But never think it is the “end all, be all” to life, or to your personal development as a human being.
In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I ask that above both nutrition and physical fitness you make it a priority to strengthen the “content of you character.”
If there is anything wrong with our society it is that so many of us live for one thing and one thing alone: ourselves.
Cynicism and apathy are weak, selfish emotions, and we must fight them at all costs.
Read more books.
Learn as much as possible about the world around you.
Respect the lives and lifestyles of those around you.
Have empathy and understanding for every single person you meet.
Challenge your currents beliefs and dogmas.
Break away from your self imposed mental limits.
Stand up for what you believe in.
Follow your dreams.
Be our own self, but remember that individualism means nothing if not used for the betterment of mankind.
Martin Luther King Jr. aspired to embody all of the qualities I speak about, and in doing so inspired millions to do the same.
Read his autobiography.
Go watch the film.
Consider it “exercise for the soul.”
After all, what good is it to have a healthy body if our minds are weak and our hearts malnourished?
Rest in peace, Dr. King.
You belong to the ages, now.
Because of you the world is a much better place; and hopefully, because of your example, we will all strive to become a better people – physically, mentally and spiritually.