Monday, January 19, 2009

The Drum Major Instinct

A Drum Major is the leader of the Parade. Everyone has their eyes on the grand and splendor. Dr. King’s speech, The Drum Major Instinct, February 4, 1968, discusses where the desires for recognition and praise originate. It is this instinct that the foundation of the ego's need for validation is born.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. understood the Drum Major instinct or impulse.

“We are born with this instinct. And there is deep down within all of us an instinct. It's a kind of drum major instinct-a desire to be out front, a desire to lead the parade, a desire to be first. And it is something that runs the whole gamut of life.”

We all want to be important. When we do good things we like to get praise. We get this warm glow to our ego when we see our name in print. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. says, it is like Vitamin A to our egos. Nobody is unhappy when they are praised, even if they know they don't deserve it and even if they don't believe it. There is nothing wrong with this instinct or impulse. It is good if you use it right and don’t pervert it. Greatness must be earned.

Writers have a great responsibility to their readers. Don’t let the drum major impulse overshadow the purpose of your words.

I invite you to read Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s message from February 4, 1968 just two months before his death. Click here then click on the lower right hand side “The Drum Major Instinct” with Dr. King’s picture.

Write it down,