How to Build a Significant Life Using MLK’s Blueprint

MLK's Life Blueprint

Wouldn’t it be great if when we reached Jr. High, we were handed the blueprints for our lives that we could simply follow in order to live out our destinies and leave lasting legacies in our wake?

In one of his famous speeches, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., did just that.  In 1967, he gave a 20 minute speech called Life’s Blueprint, to an audience of Jr. High students in Philadelphia.

How to Build a Significant Life Using MLK's Blueprint

Unfortunately, life is not designed for us, we must design it.  We are the architects of our lives.  Our lives are built by the decisions we make daily.  All architects have blueprints.  We must commit to a way of living that will result in the best life we can live. How do we do that?

“A building is not well erected without a solid blueprint. Each of us are in the process of building the structure of our lives and the question is whether we have a proper blueprint.” Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

King's Life's Blueprint encapsulated four things to live a life of significance.  They are as follows.

#1 Embrace A Principle of Somebody-ness

To begin and endure a life of significance, you must have a deep belief in your own dignity and worth.

You must always feel that you count. That you have worth.  That your life has ultimate significance.  Do not be ashamed of your color or biological features.

Your life matters. You must believe this at your core in order to live a life of significance.

#2 Determine to Achieve Excellence

Strive for excellence in all you do because who you are matters.  What you do with your life matters.  Most importantly, how you do what you do matters.

Be the best of whatever you are.  If you are a painter, be the best painter you can be, if you are a mother, be the best mother you can be.

If you do life lazily, you will live an uninspiring life that lacks meaning.  When you discover what you are to be in life, set out to do it as if God Almighty himself has called you to do it.

Do that job so well that the living, the dead or the unborn couldn’t do it any better.

#3 Commit to Beauty, Love & Justice

Have a commitment to the eternal principles of beauty, love and justice.

Do not allow anyone to drag you down to the point of hating them. Be involved in the struggle for freedom and justice, but do so without violence.

Let love be your aim.

#4 Never Give Up

Keep moving.

As Langston Hughes wrote, "life for none of us has been a crystal staircase".   If you can't fly, run.  If you can't run, walk.  If you can't walk, crawl,  but by all means keep moving.

Living a life of significance does not come easy for anyone who ventures to do so.  Those who succeed are those who refuse to give up.

My #5: Read the Manual

One must have a reason to apply MLK's blueprint, that is to embrace a principle of somebodyness, determine to achieve excellence, commit to the eternal principles of beauty, love and justice, and not give up, there must be a why behind it.

Why do we have self worth? Why should we be excellent? Why should we commit to beauty, love and justice? Why should we keep moving and not give up?

Without understanding the why for these things, it becomes difficult to remain committed to them, when life hands you lemons, which life inevitably will.

I would therefore, add a fifth element to MLK’s Life's Blueprint, that is to Read the Manual that has been passed down to us from generation to generation for thousands of years.

Jordan Peterson, renowned psychologist and author of 12 Rules for Life writes, “The Bible is, for better or worse, the foundational document of western civilization…Its careful, respectful study can reveal things to us about what we believe and how we do and should act that can be discovered in almost no other manner.”

Whether or not you believe in God, that the Bible is God’s word to us or that Jesus is the Messiah sent to save the world from sin and reconcile us to God, is irrelevant.

It does not change the fact that this ancient book which has stood the test of time, explains why humans have worth.  Why excellence is important.  Why beauty and love and justice matter.  Why perseverance is important.  The Bible, contains the necessary foundational elements for a life well lived.

Your life will not be less for reading it.  It is the one book everyone should read at least once. And it's free, available to all as a downloadable app at

Key Takeaways

Life’s blueprints are not handed to us but can be crafted as follows, according to the teachings of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.:

  1. Embrace a Principle of Somebody-ness
  2. Determine to Achieve Excellence
  3. Commit to Beauty, Love & Justice
  4. Never Give Up

I would add a fifth, as a means to supply the why for the four above.

5. Read The Bible

Implementing these, you will be well on your way to building a life of meaning and significance.

Happy life building.


Welcome to Honey & Figs! I'm Lisa. I love helping people with practical ways to live more abundant lives based on my own experience. You can click here to find out more about me.

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